General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
Some angry youth in Kenyasi in the Brong Ahafo Region on Tuesday, August 1, 2017 blocked all roads leading to and from the community.
They were demonstrating against mining company, Newmont, and demanding immediate employment.
The irate youth also say they are unhappy about the company’s alleged pollution of some water bodies and the destruction of their homes.
Citi News’ Brong Ahafo regional correspondent, reported that the youth also besieged the premises of the company and prevented workers from going in to work.
Some of them who spoke to Citi Business News also lamented what they say is a breach of agreement entered into with the mining company.
“When Newmont came they asked for our land in promise that they will provide us jobs and even if we cannot work, our children will benefit, but the promises were not fulfilled. On December 13th, 2016, we met with Newmont and EPSA when they wanted to extract minerals from our land but we told them until they train our young ones to be skilled to work in the company, they will not have access to the land,” one of the leaders remarked in an interview with Citi Business News.
He added, “The elders of the land as well explained that if they refused and the youth took action, they will support them.”
The residents also claim they have been battling some health complications due to the consumption of the unwholesome water and food crops.
They blame their plight on the alleged pollution of the water bodies and farmlands in the community and surrounding towns.
“Research has revealed that our food crops and water bodies have been polluted so we ask that the government comes to our aid,” another resident claimed.
Newmont Ghana engages residents on issue
The company in question, Newmont Ghana has however been reacting to the concerns by the youth of the area.
In an interview, the Senior Director, Communication and External Relations, Adiki Ofeibea Ayitevie told Citi Business News that the company has been engaging all stakeholders in the issue of employment.
According to Newmont, though it admits that it cannot employ all the youth in the area, past employments have largely been conducted to favour eligible residents.
Citi Business News understands that currently, 42% of the national workforce is Ahafo locals while 47% of the people employed by Newmont’s underground contractor, AUMS, for the upcoming Subika underground mine are also locals from the communities.
An additional 100% of unskilled jobs for the underground project have equally been filled with locals from the 10 host communities in Ahafo.
Commenting on the protest, Madam Adiki Ofeibea Ayitevie said,
“We recognize that as a business we are committed to serving as a catalyst for local economic development and as well responsive to the environment.
But we also recognize that we are unable to provide employment opportunities for all the youth to work with us hence we will continue to explore alternative ways through discussions to further stimulate sustainable development in our host communities through responsible mining.”
“We’ve made a conscious effort to adhere to our mining permit and we also make sure we undertake mining in a sustainable manner,” she added.