Chiefs and the youth groups in the five Ahafo North mining communities have appealed to the government to evoke state laws to ensure the mining project commences without further delays.
Some aggrieved farmers have refused to grant Newmont Africa – Ahafo North project access to their farms and other properties over compensation-related issues.
According to the chiefs and the Coalition of Ahafo North Youth, the situation is frustrating the operations of the company and threatens the livelihoods of the youth and the benefit for the communities.
Terchire, Adrobaa, Susuanso, Afrisipa, and Yamfo are the communities in the Tano North District of the Ahafo Region expected to be affected by mining activities.
Speaking at a joint press conference of chiefs and the youth groups at Afrisipa, Nana Oboonin Nkrawiri IV, the Chief of Afrisipa, expressed worry about what he described as the negative influences from the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), a community-based human rights and environmental mining advocacy non-governmental organization, on some farmers.
Richard Yeboah, Terchire Youth chairman and the 2nd vice chairman of the Coalition, also stated that attempts by the regional minister, the municipal chief executive, and Newmont, among others, to engage the aggrieved farmers for an amicable solution proved futile.
A situation they accused WACAM of being behind.
The chief noted that the situation left them with no option but to appeal to the government to take steps within their powers for the project to commence for the communities and Ghana’s benefit.
“In situations like this, Ghana’s laws permit the sector minister to act in the interest of the country. And we have appealed to the government, through the minister, to use the vested laws for the project to start if the aggrieved farmers remain at their entrenched position,” he said.
He added that such a move by the government, after the continuous refusal of the aggrieved farmers to allow the agreed compensation-related issues to progress and pave way for the project, would ease the burden and the sufferings of the people.
“We (the chiefs and youths) are determined and will not allow some few individuals to thwart our progress”.
The Terchire Youth chairman, Richard Yeboah, said the refusal of the farmers to meet the five chiefs amounted to disrespect.
He said though they have noted that WACAM emboldened them to act in such a manner, they urged them to apologize to the chiefs.
“As youths, the assembly members, and the unit committee members, we cannot continue to watch unconcerned while these individuals bring down the revered institution in our communities and contribute to the already moral decadence confronting our communities,” he said.
“We are therefore asking WACAM to cease all operations in our five communities unconditionally,” Mr. Yeboah said, and further cautioned them to desist from any attempt to disrupt the Newmont Ahafo North project, because the coalition and the chiefs will face them and their anti-mining ideology squarely.
He, however, noted that since they cannot compel the aggrieved farmers, they want the government to act collectively to pave way for the progress of the project while using due process to address their concerns.
Meanwhile, some aggrieved farmers have appealed to the government and other stakeholders to also ensure that the agreed compensations are paid in time to avoid devaluation of the money.
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