Residents of the soon to be operated Newmont Ahafo North mine have appealed to mining regulatory authorities to ensure that the operations of Newmont Gold Corporation Limited do not replicate what they termed “the mining curse” in that enclave.
The Newmont Ahafo North gold mining project would cover about 4,000 hectares and expected to be carried out in five major towns – Yamfo, Afrisipa, Adrobaa, Techire and Susanaso in the Ahafo Region.
The project would also involve the diversion of approximately a nine-kilometre section of the Kumasi-Sunyani highway, between Afrisipakrom and Techire to prevent interferences with operation and safety of road users.
Mrs Comfort Yeboah, a resident of Yamfo, who led the charge explained that their source of livelihood (farmlands) would be taken away, following the mining activities, and therefore, demand better alternative livelihood empowerment initiative from the mining company.
This came to light during a public hearing on the proposed Ahafo North gold mining and processing project organised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) at Yamfo on Wednesday.
The EPA programme was in accordance with regulations 17 (1C) of the Environmental Assessment Regulations 199 (LI 1652) and Ghana’s Environmental Assessment procedures.
Mr Richard Ofori, a teacher, on his part, said the impact of the mining operations would affect their buildings, water bodies as well as other social vices in the affected communities, and called for adequate compensation packages for the people.
The Regional Newmont Ahafo North Project Director, Steven Petrofes, however, assured the people of responsible mining as had always been the core mandate of the Newmont Gold Corp Limited.
He said the company’s ultimate aim was to ensure that the project fell “in line with their policy of creating value and improving lives through sustainable and responsible mining”.
Mr Petrofes also said in line with their integrity value of being ethical and respecting the customs, cultures and laws wherever they operated, and in fulfillment of regulatory requirement, the company had through consultants working together with stakeholders, addressed concerns that might come up along the way.
The Omanhene of Yamfo, Nana Ansah Adu Baah, urged Newmont Gold Corporation Limited to abide by the rules and regulation given them by the regulatory authorities in order to ensure peace and stability of the area.
FROM DANIEL DZIRASAH, YAMFO