Some communities affected by the operations of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, in the Asutifi North district of the Ahafo region, say they are yet to feel any positive impact of the mine since the company began operating in the area nearly two decades ago.
This is in spite of the fact that between 2012 and 2019 alone, the Asutifi North district received GHC 12,111,878.59 as revenue from the Mineral Development Fund.
Also, just last month, the Fund presented a cheque for GHC1 million as seed money to the local management committee to be used by the district’s Mining Community Development Scheme (MCDS).
The affected communities are calling on the government and the Asutifi North district assembly to be more transparent in the use of funds accruing from the mining operations.
They are also calling on the assembly to account for all funds received from the Mineral Development Fund and take adequate steps to ensure the judicious use of the fund, going forward.
These came to light at a workshop organised on the Mineral Development Fund Act (Act 912) 2016 for 50 women and youth selected from Kenyasi Number One, Kenyasi Number Two, Ntotroso, Dormaaa-Katinka, Gyedu, Ola Resettlement One and Two.
It was organised by Makers Network Foundation, in collaboration with Indigenous Youth Alliance Ghana and Global Media Foundation, under a project called “Advocating for the Inclusion of Women and Youth in the Management Mineral Development Fund and supported by Global Green Grant Fund.”
Parliament in 2016 passed the Mineral Development Fund (MDF) Act (Act 912) to regulate and govern the distribution of portions of mineral royalties to local government and mining development institutions and as well as providing a legal basis for such distribution.
Speaking at the forum, the executive director of Makers Network Foundation, Eunice Ntiwaa Yeboah, said there is an urgent need to protect the right to development of people living in mining communities across the country.
Miss Ntiwaa Yeboah said the overall goal of the action is to empower women and youth to participate and influence the transparent management and utilisation of the Mineral Development Fund.
She mentioned inadequate compensation for destroyed properties; unacceptable alternative livelihood projects, absence of effective channels of communications/consultations between companies and communities; health problems attributed to mining, reckless spillage of cyanide as some of the challenges facing mining affected communities.
A human rights activist, Raphael Godlove Ahenu, called for amendments of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703), and also introduce the relevant legislative instrument for effective implementation of a mining act that will, among other things, ensure that mining communities realise their rights to development.
To achieve more participation of women and the youth, he urged the assemblies to organise more vocational and skills-based initiatives to empower them economically.
The planning officer of Asutifi North District Assembly, James Ata-Era Akularemi, said the main aim of the MDF Act is to provide financial resources for the benefit of mining communities and for other related matters.
The Act calls for the establishment of a Mining Community Development Scheme for each mining community to facilitate the socio-economic development of the communities in which mining activities are undertaken.