MAC: Mines and Communities

Ghana EITI to explore impact of mining on local economy

Published by MAC on 2014-07-23
Source: Kada Africa, Statement

The first article below raises several important issues. Not least among these is the responsibility of AngloGold Ashanti to effect what is commonly known as "just transisition" from a tottering mining-based regional economy, to alternative employment.

Just what the EITI will recommend in its forthcoming report isn't clear, however - other than, perhaps, to urge that AngloGold plough back much more of its profits into creating sustainable livelihoods.

That's going to be a tall order in an area that has been profoundly degraded by mining over many years, while AngloGold will doubtless argue that it has "poverty" of its own to deal with.

Not just a case, then, of "publish what you pay", but "pay what you should!"

Ghana EITI to explore impact of mining on local economy - Obuasi under spotlight

by Kofi Adu Domfeh

10 July 2014

(article edited)

The bumpy deplorable road leading to the gold city of Obuasi in the Ashanti region depicts a worrying state [in] an area that has played a significant role in Ghana's economic development.

For over 100 years, mining at Obuasi has been a major contributor to the country's foreign exchange earnings - mining has contributed an average $2 billion to government's revenue in the past five years.

Mining communities however complain the industry has failed to deliver tangible benefits for local people."They should hear the communities cry," wailed Madam Gifty Owusu Afriyie, who represents Tutuka Central electoral area in the Obuasi Municipal Assembly. "Children are suffering and women too are suffering because they have to travel a long way before they can fetch some water."

Concerns are rife that the government has used up revenue from mining without recourse to addressing the development challenges of local mining communities.

The quality of spending minerals revenue by local assembly authorities has been questioned. For instance, the Obuasi Municipal Assembly in 2007 constructed the Obuasi Entrance Arch at a cost of Ghanaian cedis 89,000 whilst local people yearn for good road network, potable water, quality healthcare and education.

The next Ghana Report on the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) would be keen [to show]]how the mining sector has negatively or positively impacted on the economy.

"If there is any community in Ghana that we all need to be concerned about [with regard to]the lessons, experiences and impact of mining, it's Obuasi, especially at this moment that the company [AngloGold Ashanti] is in a critical state," noted Emmanuel Kuyole, Africa Regional Coordinator, Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

AngloGold has put the Obuasi mine under what is termed "care and maintenance", following operational losses recorded in recent times. The redevelopment of the concession has left over 5,000 workers losing their jobs - only 500 to 600 of the workforce are being maintained.

The two-year break is expected to cripple the ability of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly to generate enough revenue to finance local development projects - as much as 70 percent of the Assembly's total property rate mobilization is from AngloGold Ashanti.

"We're looking into how we can take advantage of the number of years that is left for mining to take place in Obuasi to actually develop a local economy that will be independent of the mine so that we can find jobs and grow other sectors and make sure that, once mining comes to an end, the economy of this great place will also not come to an end," stated Mr. Kuyole.

Obuasi and adjoining districts mined by AngloGold Ashanti are under the spotlight of the Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), through the civil society oversight activity of the NRGI.

Under the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI), interest groups have been analyzing the EITI reporting on sub-national revenue management and other benefits received at the local level.

The validation dialogue process involves industry players, local authorities, regulatory bodies, civil society and the media. Major issues emanating from the discussion include the proper use and formula for sharing of mining royalties.

"Government must begin the process of addressing community challenges within the framework of its own development planning processes," observed Richard Ellimah, Lead Researcher of CeSIS Study. The EITI seeks to [provide] the transparency [which is now] missing and accountability in revenue flows from the extractive industry.

The 2012-2013 EITI Ghana Report will show the contribution of the extractives sector to the local economy, exploring how much revenue has been generated and its application.

COCAS Appoints New Leaders to Litigate Chirano Gold Mines

COCAS statement

June 2014

Concern Citizens Association of Sefwi (COCAS) has promised the farmers and the entire people of Chirano, Akoti, Etwebo and the Environs whose cocoa farms and properties were destroyed by Chirano Gold Mines in 2004 with NO or Under Compensation to rest assured

that the group will continue the case in Accra Fast Track High Court despite the painful and sudden death of their leader (Late Hon. Eric Amoako Atta).

The Group disclosed this in a day forum organized by the group and funded by Global Greengrants Fund (GGF) to elect New Executives.

These people were under compensated and some of them were not compensated at all by CHIRANO GOLD MINES LIMITED and the cash has been in Accra Fast Track High court since 2004 following the failure of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resource to resolve the matter out of court.

The forum was chaired by Nana Freeman Aberkah who was later elected by the members as Chairman of the organization (COCAS). Nana Aberkah in his acceptance remarks thanked the members for the honor done him and advised that those who would be elected must prepare to serve instead of expecting members to serve them.

The forum brought together about two Thousand people comprising Traditional leaders, Assembly members, Youth, Priests from various Churches, Farmers from six Communities in the area namely Akoti, Etwebo, Ayinase, Surano, Kwaokrom, Chirano and some members of the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM).

[There follows a list of newly appointed executive and community members of COCAS].

In addition to the election, the forum also took advantage to discuss strategies for ensuring that the farmers and the property owners in the Chirano area get access to justice.

These people were under compensated by Chirano Gold Mines Limited and the case has been in Accra Fast Track High Court since 2004 following the failure of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to resolve the matter out of court.

In Solidarity with COCAS and the affected farmers in the area, some members of National Coalition on Mining (NCOM) as mentioned earlier participated the forum. Speaking at the forum Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku a member of NCOM and Executive Director of Livelihoods and Environment, Ghana (LEG), environment, social and human rights advocacy not for profit and non-governmental organization encouraged the group not to be intimidated by the actions of the company because they have Constitutional rights to come together as a group to protect their socio-economic and cultural interest and mentioned Article 21 (2) of the 1992 constitution.

He again said taking Chirano Gold Mines to court is a laudable and bold decision by the group and that they have Constitutional backing and mentioned 20 (2)b of the 1992 Constitution and Section 75 of the Minerals and Mining Act (Act703), 2006 to battled his points.

Miss Esther Owusu Achiaa one of the leading members of Tano Women's and Empowerment and Development Association (TWEDA) advised the elected members to be honored, transparent and accountable in all their dealings.

The forum was held in Akot-Etwebo in the Bibiani, Awiaso-Bekwai District in the Western Region of Ghana on Thursday 12th June, 2014

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