Regional News of Tuesday, 11 February 2014
Source: CENTRE FOR SOCIAL IMPACT STUDIES
The Omanhene of the Jacobu Traditional Area in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region, Nana Fosu Kwadwe Abiri II has described as unfair, the mode of distribution of mineral royalty between the Amansie Central District and the Obuasi Municipality.
In his opinion, the Amansie Central District is the worst affected by the operations of mining and should therefore receive a greater percentage of mineral royalty than other areas.
He explained that the operations of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) over a century have rendered most lands in his traditional area infertile while water bodies have also been destroyed.
Added to this, he noted are the operations of small scale illegal miners, popularly called galamsey and an influx of Chinese illegal miners who have created social and environmental problems for residents.
Addressing a community forum in Jacobu organized by Shaft FM, an Obuasi, based radio station to sensitise communities in the Amansie Central District on how to promote transparency and accountability in the utilization of mineral revenue, Nana Fosu Kwadwe Abiri II further took a swipe at AngloGold Ashanti for neglecting people living within the company’s catchment area.
According to him, the multinational mining company has turned deaf ears to several appeals he has made to them to support development in his traditional area.
“For instance, I have written three letters to them for assistance to build a palace. They have not even bothered to acknowledge receipt of the letters”, he said, fuming with anger. This is in spite of the fact that the Jacobu community provided security for AGA in its early years when the company came under several attacks from raiders.
The community forum was one of several activities under the Yen Sika, Yen Daakye (Our Money, Our Future) Project being implemented by Shaft FM with funding from STAR – Ghana.
The project is aimed at strengthening accountability and responsiveness in the utilization of mineral revenue in four mining districts: Amansie Central, Adansi North, Adansi South and Obuasi Municipal.
In a presentation, Mr. Richard Ellimah, Executive Director of Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS), a non-governmental research and advocacy organization took participants through the significance of transparency and accountability in the utilization of mineral revenue. He disclosed that contrary to perceptions, the portion of mineral revenue that gets to the district level is very minimal, 9 percent in all.
This therefore disables the district assemblies and traditional authorities from undertaking any significant development projects to address the negative impacts of mining. Mr. Ellimah therefore tasked participants to come up with proposals for an upward adjustment in the percentage paid to the districts assemblies and traditional authorities.
He further urged the district assemblies and nananom to be transparent and accountable to their people so that the constant conflicts between them and the communities will cease.
Earlier, Mr. Malik bin Ibrahim of the Green Ghana Initiative also did an overview of mining in Ghana, touching on the benefits and some of the costs associated with mining.