Tuesday, 23 July

Ahafo-Nkaseim residents warn Newmont: Leave our community mining alone for peace

General News
A collage of the community leader and Newmont official

Residents of Ahafo Nkaseim in the Asutifi South District of the Ahafo Region have issued a warning to Newmont Ghana, Ahafo mine, urging the company to stay out of the Community Mining Scheme project being developed in the area.

They are calling for Newmont's support to ensure the project's successful launch, which they say will help maintain peace in the community.

The residents argue that any attempt by Newmont to disrupt the formalization of the project, which currently employs over 10,000 people, will be met with strong resistance. 

They emphasize that Newmont cannot employ even a quarter of the people working in the community mining project, highlighting the importance of ceding the area, which is just a small portion to the locals for the sake of peace.

The community has warned of serious consequences if Newmont attempts to use force or military action to remove the thousands of Ghanaians whose livelihoods depend on the project.

Kwabena Asumadu, the spokesperson for the project, stressed the need for jobs for the youth and called on the government to prioritize the interests of the locals and pressure Newmont to cooperate.

Asumadu pointed out that the initiative provides jobs not only for local residents but also for Ghanaians from various regions, including Bibiani, Obuasi, Accra, Kumasi, and Techiman.

He questioned why anyone would want to disrupt a project that offers such widespread employment opportunities.

“We are Ghanaians and there is no job...how many people can Newmont employ without requesting for certificate?

But with this, everybody can be absorbed.

It is not only the indigenes, people from Bibiani, Obuasi, Accra, Kumasi, Techiman and other places are coming to work, so why should someone decide to frustrate it?” he quizzed. 

The area in dispute, about 3 acres, has been the community's main source of livelihood for many years. Recently, local leaders decided to formalize it under the government’s Community Mining policy. 

Asumadu explained that the community desires a peaceful coexistence with Newmont and has engaged with the company and relevant authorities to reach a consensus, only to face a sudden change in Newmont's stance.

The community suspects that Newmont's recent opposition is linked to the installation of new processing machines by the Community Mining project.

These machines were intended to reduce dust and minimize environmental hazards, improving health conditions for workers and the community without expanding operations into large-scale mining.

Asumadu appealed to the government to intervene and commission the project, securing the livelihoods of the residents and boosting the local economy.

The site’s office comprises a police post, Minerals Commission office and a revenue collection office as well as a clinic currently operating 24-hour services and offering healthcare to the people of Nkaseim and its surrounding communities.

He noted that traditional leaders support the project and want it to succeed, as it benefits many families and has led to the establishment of a clinic to enhance healthcare in the area.

In March of this year, a delegation of chiefs, opinion leaders, and concerned youth from Ahafo Nkaseim met with Newmont's management and Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker. 

During this meeting, they requested that Newmont cede part of its concession to the youth for their operations.

Newmont Gold, which acquired the prospecting license for the Nkaseim concession in 2019, is still awaiting a mining lease from the Minerals Commission

Source: Classfmonline.com/Cecil Mensah