Two new settlements in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region have been inaugurated as new residents for communities affected by mining operations in the area.
The communities, New Buing and New Accra, have concrete residential buildings fitted with kitchen and washrooms, a healthcare facility, two schools with accommodation for teachers, three places of worship, electricity, potable water among others.
It was constructed by Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited in partnership with the Chiefs of Buing and Accra, as well as the Talensi Traditional Council.
Inaugurating the project yesterday, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, said the two new settlements were necessary when it became apparent that the operations of Cardinal would affect the people of Buing and Accra, hence the need to relocate all affected families to a suitable alternative land.
He said the project was constructed in accordance with the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP) approved by the District Land Use and Spatial Planning Authority (LUSPA) and the Minerals Commission.
Additionally, he noted that the project was also in conformity with the International Finance Corporation’s (IFC) Performance Standards on Social and Environmental Sustainability.
The Minister said the two new communities would ensure the highest standards of health and safety for the mine and the host communities.
He advised the beneficiaries of the new communities to take good care of the facilities, maintain and manage them responsibly so that their offspring could also benefit from them.
He urged the Cardinal Namdini not to neglect the communities after the resettlement, but to continue to engage and support the people to settle-in at their new environment as part of efforts to build a cordial relationship with the host communities.
“It is also important that the company provides them with sustainable livelihood initiatives to sustain the cordial relations existing between the company and the communities,” Mr Jinapor added.
As managers of the country’s natural resources, he said the government was committed to ensuring that their exploitation inure to the benefit of Ghanaians, including the communities where the resources were located, and called on the chiefs to resolve issues impeding the constitution of a functional Local Management Committee of minerals fund to ensure the development of the District.
“Government is also committed to ensuring that Ghanaians benefit from our natural resources through policies such as value addition, local content and local participation.
In the next few weeks, we will commission the first state-owned gold refinery, established through a public private partnership to add value to our gold resources,” he stated.
The Chief Executive Officer of Cardinal Namdini, Luis Santana, said the economic empowerment of the members of the communities was at the heart of the company’s operations.
He said it was the strategic objective of the company to empower residents and activate projects and policies aimed at developing the socio-economic well-being of the communities.
He disclosed that the company was working with a civil society group to provide relevant support to the residents as they transition to the resettlement phase.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS