Newmont urges disgruntled farmers return to good-faith dialogue to resolve issues

Newmont urges disgruntled farmers return to good-faith dialogue to resolve issues
Source: Ghana | Myjoyonline.com | JTM
Date: 24-07-2018 Time: 06:07:55:pm

Newmont Ghana reiterates its commitment to honouring its obligationswith stakeholdersnear its Akyem operation in full compliance with Ghana’s Mining and Minerals Law regarding compensation and land access, as well as international best practices.

The company also appealed to the section of community farmers seeking new and additional land and crop compensation to resume the mediation process to achieve mutually acceptable outcomes.

“As much as we respect the right of all stakeholders to publicly express concerns, we believe good-faith dialogue is the most effective, responsible and fastest way toresolve issues,” said Daniel Egya-Mensah, Acting General Manager – Akyem Mine. “We remain open to addressing stakeholders’ concerns through direct, face-to-face discussionswhile publicly releasing the outcomes.”

The Company has beenin a mediation process with the concerned parties, led by an independent arbitrator. Thegroup decided to embark on their demonstration despite the ongoing mediation effort.

Newmont Ghana will continue to focus on partnering with its host communities and stakeholders to improve lives and createlong-term value through sustainable and responsible mining.

Background

Some farmers within the Akyem mine area recently notified the Police of their intention to demonstrate against Newmont.

The group is seeking new and additional payments for ground rent and compensation related to land access before construction of the mine, and to help press their demands on alleged building cracks from mine pit blasting.

Before Akyem’s operations began in 2013, with the input of a reputable community valuer, Newmont negotiated rates for crops, deprivation of land use and immovable structures over a period of 10 months with mine area farmers.

In line with relevant minerals and mining law provisions in Ghana, an agreement was reached and signed between the Company and local farmers. The negotiated compensation rates formed the basis for full and final compensation paid to more than2,000 farmers and landowners.

Ground rent

Ghana’s Minerals and Mining Law mandates paying ground rent to land owners affected by Akyem’s mining operations. Underthe Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands Act, ground rent for stool Landsis to be paid to the Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands (OASL) for disbursement.

Newmont, therefore, pays the Akyem Mine ground rent to the OASL, as required by law. This is in line with the provisions of the OASL Act as these lands fall within the Akyem Kotoku paramountcy lands.

Blast allegations

The Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission’s (IDMC) investigations into the alleged impact of the mineon community buildings has demonstratedthat the Akyem blast over pressures and vibrations are within the legally permitted threshold.


The IDMC requested that Newmont amicably settle the community complaints.Following this request, a joint committee was established to discuss varied options until a group of community stakeholders filed their petition with the courts. The committee’s work has been put on hold awaiting the outcome inthe courts.

Employment Opportunities

More than 46 percent of Akyem’sworkforce is from nearbyhost communities. This employment figure does not includethe contractor workforce which is at 49 percent. Additionally, to provide local youth with specialised skills tailored to the Mine’s operational needs, the company has instituted afour-year Apprenticeship programme and the one-year Learnership programme.

Several community youth members have benefitted from these programmes. Newmont’s employment policy and agreement with Akyem’s host communities ensures that all unskilled labour issourced from the communities within the mine catchment. The company also has facilitated the participation of local youth in capacity building initiatives.

Conclusion

The company expressed the committment to realising its purpose of creating value and improving lives and will continue to partner community stakeholders to enhance their quality of life.

"We look forward to engaging with our stakeholders to improve our performance and responsibly address their needs and concerns," it said.