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sharing in governance of extractive industries

AngloGold Ashanti gives raw deal to Ajopa Community

The proposed Mining Revenue Management framework 

 

A group of ordinary Ghanaian farmers who lost their livelihood, homes and all that they have toiled for over the years in the Ajopa farming Community in Mankessim in the Central Region of Ghana because of the raw deal handed to them by AngloGold Ashanti has appealed to the Minerals Commission to step in to right the wrong meted out to them.

Each inhabitant of the community agreed with AngloGold Ashanti to be resettled elsewhere with same number of rooms they were occupying before the coming of the company to their community.

But according to the villagers present at the forum, a family of six with 5 rooms before the arrival of AngloGold Ashanti who were initially promised to provide the same six rooms to each family rather gave just two rooms and in many cases one room to the people despite all protestations, the company will not badge.    

Officials of the Minerals Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Ministry of Finance, Ghana’s Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) Civil societies, the media Oxfam, Ghana National Union of Polytechnics, Peasants Association of Ghana, community members from the village ( Adjopa), representatives from some political parties, and a member of Parliament on Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy not only heard this unacceptable narration but also fought back tears when the 78-year-old woman narrated her plight to the gathering.

Tearfully, the victims appealed to the Minerals Commission- a body that ´´receive and assesses public agreements relating to minerals and report to Parliament´ between mining companies and Ghana Government to intervene and ensure that justice is served and right the wrong meted to them.A

The forum, put together by the African Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) with support from Ibis Ghana, is seeking a national consultation on a Mining Revenue Management framework on its usage. The forum sought to see whether revenues from the mining sector have achieved the needed impact on the livelihood of the land owners and Ghana as a country.   And to seek a national collective or agreed way forward on future usage of mineral revenues.

Forum

Premiering a documentary on “Mineral Revenue Management Proposal” to usher in the discussion, it emerged that quite a good amount of the revenue from the communities have not benefited the people not only in Ajopa in the Mankessim but also the Tarkwa and its environs    whether physical developments of the communities where these minerals are extracted or human resource wise. Roads are terrible, rivers that serve as sources of drinking water to these people are polluted and local houses have cracked as a result of the blasting by not only AngloGold Ashanti but wherever mining takes place in the communities.  See the uploaded proposed Mineral Revenue Management format by ACEP and its collaborators.

Panel Discussions

The usual blame game between the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Finance Ministry on the one hand and what Civil Societies see as the lack of commitment to the interest of the locals on whose land these extractives exists emerged. Civil societies say because some of the government officials benefit from the operations of these companies such as AngloGold Ashanti who exploit the people, they look elsewhere while the companies have a field day which was clearly seen in the documentary on mining in Tarkwa, a town with a little over 90,000 inhabitants where mining has gone on over a 100 years now.

The panel from left : Sulemanu Koney, Hannah Korenteng,  and member of Parliament Joe Kodjo

Where is the Money  

Civil Societies say revenues from the mining sector is being mismanaged and little care about the people in the community where the resources are coming from.  Responding, Ghana’s Finance  Minister, Seth Terkpe say royalties as one of the streams collected is a question of ownership and that 90% of the revenues are used for schools, roads etc. But Nana Afrifa a community head of Adjopa disputes that saying not even consultation is done let alone deciding where the revenues should be spent. Civil society says much of the revenue is used for consumption instead of capital investment.  This has prompted civil societies to call for a prudent way of using the revenues otherwise the resources will finish and nobody can point to a single investment. Currently spending is not backed by law as the 90% of the revenue goes into a general pool called Consolidated Fund and disbursed.

Proposal

Sulemanu Koney, Chief Executive of Ghana Chamber of Mines, the body that speaks on behalf of mining companies expressed surprise and ignorance about the situation and promised to find out exactly the situation.

Contributing Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive of Mineral Commission agrees with civil society that a proposed Community Development Fund be established or considered at the Parliamentary level. Currently the Administrative fiat that directs that only 10% of the revenue goes to the community but no one sees it, at least not Nana Afrifa and his people. Civil societies also proposed or argue that the 90% left to government is not subjected to accountability process either and are proposing one.  The community is worried what the future holds for their children.

In a speech before the premiering the documentary, the dynamic leader of ACEP, Dr. Mohammed Amin Adam noted “there is no doubt that mining offers both fiscal and development opportunities in resource-rich countries. Over the last Century, Ghana’s economy has been greatly influenced by the injection of substantial revenue generated from mining operations. In spite of this great potential, the cost of mining to the country has also been too high-destruction of the environment, human rights abuses displacement of communities and low compensation to affected communities.”  

Source: Seibik Bugri

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