Business News of Wednesday, 4 February 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Eleven farmers at Akrofuom, near Obuasi, in the Adansi South District in the Ashanti Region have called on the government to intervene in the impasse between them and AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) Ghana Limited over compensation.
While the farmers claim AGA had flouted an agreement between the two parties, AGA on the other hand maintains that the agreement was still intact, waiting to be fully fulfilled.
AGA began site preparation for mining in the Sibriso area in the district in 2012. The area covers 200 acres in radius and mining operations began in January 2013 and ended in July the same year.
A spokesperson of the affected farmers, Mr Akwasi Gyasi, told the Daily Graphic that when AGA began its mining operation in the Sibriso area, farmers were denied access to their farms and that for almost three years now they had not had access to their farms.
According to him, AGA and the farmers agreed on an allowance of GH10 per day to be paid to each of the 11 farmers who were affected by its operations. The allowance, he said, covered both access denial and loss of food for the seven-month period AGA was engaged in mining in the area.
Furthermore, he said, AGA agreed to pay a farm maintenance allowance of GH¢100 per acre of farmland to each of the 11 farmers for the period it mined in the area.
Mr Gyasi said all points in the agreements had been met except that of filling the mine pits.
He said following the failure of AGA to abide by the agreement signed between them in 2013, the group of affected farmers wrote a petition to the Senior Vice President of the AGA on November 5, 2014, and sent copies to the Managing Director (MD) of the Obuasi Mine of the AGA,the Adansi South District Chief Executive(DCE), the Obuasi Municipal Chief Executive, the Obuasi Divisional Police Commander, the chief of Okyerekrom and the assembly member for the Akrofuom Electoral Area.
He expressed worry that even though the farmers received a reply on November 15, 2014 from the Senior Vice President of AGA, Mr Mark Morcombe, their concerns had still not been addressed.
He said it was as a consequence of the seeming indifference on the part of AGA that the affected farmers deemed it necessary that AGA should compensate them for denying them access to their farms, loss of food and lack of maintenance for more than a year.
Under the circumstances, the farmers are calling on the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, and for that matter the government, to intervene in the impasse.
In an interview with the Daily Graphic, the Community Relations Superintendent at the Obuasi Mine of AGA, Mr Elton Annan, denied that the third segment of the agreement had been breached. He said the Obuasi office of AGA was following the agreement to the letter and that the grievances of the affected farmers were being addressed.
He said the company was hastening efforts to create alternate access routes for the affected farmers to enable them get to their farms.