Lands Minister fumes at $4m donation by Ghana Chamber of Mines

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has taken a swipe at the Ghana Chamber of Mines for donating US$4 million towards the reconstruction of Appiatse, the community razed down by an explosion on January 20.

According to the Minister, the amount was “insignificant” considering the revenue portfolios of the mining companies which make up the Chamber.

Without compulsion, he said the Ministry, which was a partner to the Chamber in Ghana’s mining sector, was expecting that the Chamber would consider financing fully the Appiatse reconstruction project.

The Minister was speaking in Accra yesterday when the Chamber, led by its president, Eric Asubonteng, presented the group’s donation.

“I must say that looking at the strength, size, members, portfolio and what you are involved in this country, I’m not too sure this amount is significant,” Mr Jinapor stated.

He explained that, considering the challenges the extractive industry face with its host communities, it was imperative that operators demonstrate commitment to humanity and development by leading the process of reconstruction in the face of tragic incidents.

“The biggest problem of the extractive industry anywhere in the world is how to carry the populace with them.  This often times lead to communities rising against mining operations, invade concessions and other disturbing actions.

If communities feel they’re not benefiting from the extractive sector, incidents like the Appiatse explosion amplifies and heighten their concerns.  It won’t be out of place if the Chamber takes up the entire Bill for the reconstruction of Appiatse,” the Minister added.

He, however, welcomed the donation by expressing gratitude to the major contributors including Anglogold Ashanti, Goldfields Ghana, Newmont Ghana and Chirano Gold Mines.

Mr Jinapor further urged the other companies to follow suit adding that “Ghanaians are watching and taking note of who helped when we were confronted with a tragic event.”

MrAsubonteng, in his remarks, said, the Chamber had since the incident offered various forms of support to the community and was currently working on other forms of help to alleviate the challenges of the victims.

He was confident that member companies of the Chamber would also make donations to support the reconstruction efforts.

In a related development, several organisations and individuals yesterday presented their donations to the Appiatse Support Fund in support of the rebuilding effort.

Amongst them is GCB Bank PLC, which donated GHC100,000; Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), GHC200,000 and clothes; Deputy Attorney General, Diana Asonabah Dapaah, GHC2,000 and Philomina Asantewaa Debrah, who donated clothes and cooking utensils. 

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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