The setting up of Crop Rate Compensation Committees by Newmont Akyem Project is an illegal means the mining giant has adopted to short change the mainly poor and illiterate farmers in the Project area.
“Newmont has used all manner of manipulations through the Crop Rate Compensation Committee, which is set up by Newmont to impose compensation rate on the poor farmers when section 73 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) states clearly that the amount of compensation payable shall be determined by an agreement between the owner or lawful occupier of any land subject to a mineral right and holder of a mineral right (mining company).”
These were contained in a reaction 270 farmers and others to be affected by the Newmont Akyem Project signed and sent to the Minister of Environment, Science and Technology and made available to the Ghana News Agency.
The farmers cited the case of the Newmont Ahafo Mine Project where Newmont used the Committees to rip-off the farmers affected by the Project by paying them between seven and eight Ghana Cedis per cocoa tree, which has a life span of more than 40 years and could produce more than 10 Ghana Cedis worth of cocoa beans annually.
“This has worsened the poverty of many cocoa farmers, who were affected by the operations of Newmont Ahafo Mine,” the farmers said.
According to the farmers Newmont had proposed to pay 5,300 Ghana Cedis per acre of cocoa farm instead of counting the cocoa trees and paying for them; a method that would leave the farmers worse off.
The farmers accused Newmont of manipulating some traditional rulers, who would not be directly affected by the Akyem Project, to reverse their traditional role of protecting the heritage of their people to support the destruction of the Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserve.
“It has always been part of our tradition that traditional rulers are protectors of land, forest, rivers and mountains for posterity. The Akyem Project of Newmont would destroy the Ajenua Bepo Forest Reserve, which is a forest reserve of biodiversity importance and is at an altitude which enables it to promote rainfall to support agriculture.
“We wish to state that the Newmont Akyem Project would lead to the loss of livelihood for about 10,000 people; destruction of cultural heritage including public cemeteries and royal cemeteries. These negative impacts have been stated in the Environmental Impact Statement of Newmont.”
The farmers said when they realised that Newmont had been able to influence some chiefs, youths and opinion leaders through the offering of monetary inducements and promise of contracts and jobs, they decided to approach WACAM, a nongovernmental organisation engaged in mining advocacy, to assist them in their struggle to protect their human rights and means of livelihood.
They condemned Newmont for embarking on a campaign to malign WACAM for being on the side of the vulnerable and the disadvantaged in society.
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