AGA, Obuasi indigenes tussle over adequate compensation package

Payment of adequate compensation to the Anyinam and Sanso communities in the Obuasi Municipality continues to create conflict and jeopardize the future harmony of the community and the AngloGold Ashanti’s (AGA) operations in the country.

The community member’s predominantly farmers and youth are calling for a comprehensive compensation plan to be implemented by AGA to ensure sustainable livelihood among the inhabitants.

Indigenes including Chiefs and opinion leaders complained that proximity of the operations of the AngloGold Ashanti with the day-to-day activities of the communities offends the dignity of the inhabitants and oppresses their economic development in many ways.

In accordance with the Mining and Minerals Act of 2008, the Sector Minister has responsibility to ensure that people who are significantly affected by a mining operation are adequately compensated.

“Other physical impacts such as the destruction of water bodies, the erosion problems resulting from the destruction of the natural topography and disruption of drainage courses within and around the communities, the death traps resulting from abandoned mine pits, among others are impeding our livelihoods,” Chief of Sanso, Nana Efiamoah Kotoku Bawuah complained on behalf of the community during a tour by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resource, Nii Osah Mills.

A visit to some communities by the Minister Mills aimed at acquainting himself with operations of the Obuasi mines and also to familarise himself with the concerns from the communities as a result of the operations of the Mines revealed that because the communities are located within its concession, has taken lands to the very door step of the communities.

Consequently, mining operations and many day-to-day activities of the inhabitants intermingle. The entire communities are trapped on all sides by the operational sites and other facilities of AGA.

Unfortunately however, the impact of AGA’s operations on Anyinam and Sanso is out of the ordinary, and requires special attention.

“Our offence is that our land is rich with gold, now everywhere in the community is polluted, the youth are not employed,” he said.

At a separate town-hall meeting at Anyinam and Sanso communities, opinion leaders argued that because the communities have been adversely and profoundly impacted by the operations of AGA, there must be comprehensive remedy for the communities as a whole. They proposed for resettlement if possible.

They observed that AGA has responded to the situation by the provision of, among other benefits, free electricity supply and borehole water to the communities, these are woefully inadequate and do not address in any meaningful way the awful impact mining activities have had on the very lives of the people in the community.

As part of AGA’s Mining Amendment Programme which is currently before government for approval, AGA intends to withdraw electricity supply to these communities, including electricity supply to the mechanised borehole provided to the people of Sanso as a replacement for the destruction of their traditional water sources.

This decision, according to the indigenes will seriously affect their survival and their livelihood in the community, as there is no major source of employment for the youth, as farmlands have also been taking over by the mines and the water bodies have also been polluted.

Minister Osah Mills, reacting to the concerns proposed harmony of the community and the AGA management. He called for a comprehensive dialogue between the two parties to help resolve the challenge.

source : B&FT