MAC: Mines and Communities

Ghana: Residents of Prestea & Himan attacked by Golden Star security, police, and military

Published by MAC on 2013-09-10
Source: Today, Citi FM Online (2013-09-10)

Our lives in danger - Residents of Prestea & Himan cry out

Today (Ghana)

5 September 2013

Residents of Prestea, Himan and Bondaye, farming communities in the Western Region, on Tuesday 3, 2013 were greeted with fear after a combined police/military team together with some security men from Golden Star Bogoso Prestea Limited (GSBPL), a private mining company in the area, stormed their houses and brutalized residents.

In the process, four community people from Bondaye namely Sumaila Fuseini, Kwame Amankwa, Nyamoah (Okele,) and Douglas Kofi and Dominic Nyame of Concerned Citizens of Prestea, a community-based non-governmental organisation fighting to protect community rights and the environment, sustained severe injuries as a result of the police and military brutalities.

This was stated in a press statement jointly issued and singed by the Executive Directors of Wacam, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng; Centre For Environmental Impact Analysis (CEIA), Samuel Obiri; Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Augustine Niber; Youth For Action Ghana, James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr.; Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea (COCAP), Eric Sherwood and; Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), Richard Ellimah.

The rest are Humanity Focus Foundation, Precious Mattah Agbeko; Gender and Environmental Monitoring Advocate, Alvina Sena Adzobu, and; Western Region Development Network of NGOs (WERENGO), Kwame Mensah.

The statement copied to Today in Accra on Wednesday, September 4, 2013that lamented that in an ‘unprovoked attack,' the security personnel broke into houses in the areas and ‘brutalized' innocent inhabitants and damaged properties worth thousands of Ghana cedis.

According to the statement, the people of Prestea, Himan and its environs have waged a consistent struggle against the Plant North Pit operations of Golden Star Resources for about a decade.

It noted that residents of Prestea and Himan opposed the establishment of the Plant North Pit of Golden Star Resources because the pit which was in Prestea was very close to the Prestea Hospital and the Neil Stevenson Park.

The statement indicated that the inhabitants complained that mining in Prestea would lead to the destruction of buildings and then create noise and air pollution.

"The people of Prestea and Himan expressed their concerns in the public hearing by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on 22nd October, 2002 which ended in confusion. Despite the concerns of the people of Prestea and Himan, the EPA granted the company the environmental permit to undertake mining operations which brought untold hardships to the people," the statement added.

The statement explained that "the mining operations of the Plant North Pit of Golden Star Resources led to the dumping of mine waste about 50 metres from the Prestea Hospital, the destruction of 14 bungalows and the Senior staff Club house of the defunct Prestea Goldfields Limited, the destruction of the Spring water of Prestea and the destruction of televisions and other electrical gadgets of the people of Prestea and Himan by the intensity of blasting."

Some unfortunate incidents associated with the Plant North Pit operations of Golden Star Resources, the statement said, included the fate suffered by Joyce Oboako, who was thrown off her bed to the ground by the intensity of blasting at the Plant North Pit in 2003 causing her to have brain damage when she was about 6 months old.

And Joyce Oboako has become mentally retarded and cannot walk properly as a result of the incident.

"The people of Prestea and Himan bear the scars of the pain of the Plant North Pit to date and it is therefore natural that communities such as Bondaye that are so familiar with the problems caused by the company's Plant North operations would not easily welcome such irresponsible mining operations which have left in its trails legacies of human pain in the first phase of its operations in the Plant North Pit.

...Now the company wants to extend its operations to cover communities such as Bondaye and Mbease Nsuta without adequately addressing the problems of the Plant North Pit," the statement said.

It pointed out that the EPA planned a Public Hearing at Mbease Nsuta for the Beta Boundary South Mbease Nsuta Project which is the second phase of the Plant North operations of Golden Star Resources (Bogoso/ Prestea) mine.

It said suspecting a community opposition to the project and the public hearing, there was a heavy police and military presence in the area to suppress any attempt of dissent from the communities in order to gain consent and social acceptability of the people for the second phase project.

According to the statement, residents of Bondaye were described as "galamsey" operators opposed to the mining operations to justify the brutalisation by the police and military.

What was very surprising, the statement noted, was the boycott of the public hearing by Bondaye Area Council, Prestea Urban Council, Hon. Kwasi Blay, and MP for Prestea Huni Valley, NGOs/CBOs and some of the community people.

It stated that "despite the community and public opposition to the project the company has been able to force its way to gain consent for the project. This is in clear violation of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) contained in the ECOWAS Directive on Mining ratified and gazetted by the government of Ghana."

According to the statement, the FPIC requires companies to seek consent for mining projects from community people in an atmosphere that is free from intimidation through the decision-making processes of the local people and based on adequate information on the project.

"We condemn the use of force on unarmed community people that have characterised many Public Hearings and specifically condemn the brutalisation of the Bondaye community people by the police and the military acting on behalf of the Golden Star Resources (Bogoso/Prestea) mine.

"....We are saddened that the militarisation of mining communities which used to be predominant some time ago is coming back, twenty years after constitutional democracy.

The statement therefore called on the Environmental Protection Agency, the Minerals Commission and other regulatory agencies to take immediate steps to operationalise the FPIC in the granting of environmental permits and mining leases to companies.

This, according to the statement, is the only way to reduce and prevent conflicts in mining communities.


Investigate human right abuses in Prestea - Residents appeals to CHRAJ

Abdul Karim Naatogmah

Citi FM Online.com (Ghana)

10 September 201

A group calling itself the Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea (CCAP) has taken a swipe at state security agencies for alleged brutalization of residents of Prestea and its environs.

The affected communities have been identified as Bondaye, Nakaba and Prestea where the atrocities are allegedly occasioned by Golden Star Resources Limited in connivance with state security operatives.

It stated, "Brutalities in mining communities are not new but is re-emerging and this should not be seen in isolation of the recent rampant human rights violation occasioned by the security agencies especially the police."

Addressing the media in Accra, Spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea, Dominic Nyame called for government's intervention.

According to the group, under the guise of fighting illegal mining, the multinationals have connived with the security forces to just brutalize residents.

The group condemned the Environmental Protection Agency's silence on their concerns raised in previous petitions.

The group further admonished CHRAJ to act on the re-emergence of human rights abuses in Prestea and its environs.

"We call on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to investigate the circumstances that led to brutalities meted out to unarmed members of Bondaye, Nakaba and Prestea without any provocation."

Other concerned civil society organizations including the Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), Wacam and the Livelihood Environment Ghana backed calls for government and the state institutions to act responsibly in addressing the concerns of the marginalized in mining communities.

A group calling itself the Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea (CCAP) has taken a swipe at state security agencies for alleged brutalization of residents of Prestea and its environs.

The affected communities have been identified as Bondaye, Nakaba and Prestea where the atrocities are allegedly occasioned by Golden Star Resources Limited in connivance with state security operatives.

It stated, "Brutalities in mining communities are not new but is re-emerging and this should not be seen in isolation of the recent rampant human rights violation occasioned by the security agencies especially the police."

Addressing the media in Accra, Spokesperson for the Concerned Citizens Association of Prestea, Dominic Nyame called for government's intervention.

According to the group, under the guise of fighting illegal mining, the multinationals have connived with the security forces to just brutalize residents.

The group condemned the Environmental Protection Agency's silence on their concerns raised in previous petitions.

The group further admonished CHRAJ to act on the re-emergence of human rights abuses in Prestea and its environs.

"We call on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice to investigate the circumstances that led to brutalities meted out to unarmed members of Bondaye, Nakaba and Prestea without any provocation."

Other concerned civil society organizations including the Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), Wacam and the Livelihood Environment Ghana backed calls for government and the state institutions to act responsibly in addressing the concerns of the marginalized in mining communities.


EPA Holds Forum On Gold Project

Govenment of Ghana portal

5 September 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said it would ensure that Golden Star Bogoso Prestea Limited (GSBPL) operated in accordance with the new mining law.

Mr Michael Ali Sandow, Deputy Director in charge of mining, EPA, said this at a public forum at Mbease Nsuta in the Prestea/ Huni Valley District on a proposed gold mining project by GSBPL.

He assured the community that the public hearing was not the finality to granting an environmental permit to GSBPL but it would enrich the final report they would draft on the project.

Mr Sandow said the forum was to solicit individual concerns and include it in the report by the consultant and the company.

He said three issues in the Environmental Impact Statement draft had to do with water, resettlement of the Prestea Goldfields International School and the capacity of the tailings dam the company would construct.

Touching on the quality of water, Mr Sandow said the geology of both Prestea and Tarkwa made iron and manganese very high in the water.

He said the company and the assembly needed to come together to ensure that the water was well filtered and safe for human consumption.

Mr Alfred Ekow Gyan, Deputy Western Regional Minister, appealed to the traditional rulers to create a data base of the unemployed in their communities to make it easier for GSBPL to employ them when there was the opportunity.

Mr Robert Gyamfi, Community Affairs and Public Relations Manager of GSBPL, who explained the proposed Prestea South Mbease Nsuta project, said about 200 hectors of land would be used and 1.04 million Ghana cedis had been paid as compensation to individuals who would be affected.

He said the company would employ 160 people to carry out the project.

Some of the residents had expressed worry about the failure of GSBPL to deliver on its promise since it started operating in the district.

They wore red bands and blocked the road leading to the town to prevent the forum from coming on but the military and police presence prevented them from continuing with the act.

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