Work on 15.8 km road project at Abirem begins

Construction works has commenced on the 15.8 kilometre road in the Abirem North District of the Eastern Region at a cost of GH¢37.9 million.

The road which was awarded to three local contractors is expected to be completed in 12 months.

Communities to benefit include Mamanso, Old and New Abirem, Afosu, Ntronang, New Amanfrom, Hweakwae and Adausena.

Local Liaison group, a joint body made up of regulator institutions comprising the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minerals Commission and the Ghana Water Resources Commission are mandated to assist in addressing environmental, social and other issues relating to the communities.

They are also to assist in the review of Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) documentation, public hearing and provision of relevant information.

At a short meeting with the chiefs and people of the communities at Abirem, the Chairman of the Liaison Group and Head of the Mining Department of EPA, Mr Ransford Sekyi, in an interview with the media on Wednesday, said the motive for the formation of the LLG was to involve communities within the catchment areas of companies mining in forest reserves to be part in decision making.

He said the group after the formation, met with the chiefs and opinion leaders of the various communities and presented their development plans to be executed as compensation for the affected areas hence, the commencement of the project.

Giving a background of how royalties came about, he said in 2001, a mining company won a bid to mine Gold in a reserved area.

Mr Sekyi said  as part of the agreement 0.06 per cent of royalties were paid to the government  to be given to the affected areas and 50 per cent of that, which is 0.03 per cent extra ‘royalty’ from the mining company, was to be paid as a form of compensation to affected communities.

However, the liaison group, he said upon investigations realised that those farms in the reserve which were to be affected were illegal, hence no need for compensation.

According to him, the issues were deliberated on and those monies paid to government since 2001 and allocated for developmental projects in the affected mining communities.

Chief of Akyem Afosu, Nana Kofi Owusu Amoah III, said the construction of good roads in the community was part of his prioritised development plan for the area and expressed appreciation about the turn out.

BY BENEDICTA GYIMMAH FOLLEY

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