The Bono region could be losing out on business and employment opportunities to boost socio-economic development as a mining project in the area has stalled for a year now.
The Ahafo North Project of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, expected to rake in 350,000 ounces of gold per year to boost the local economy, is having a dwindling start.
Lands for the Ahafo North project of Newmont Ghana Gold Limited were declared a mining area in September 2017.
But the erection of unauthorized structures on the concession has since stalled commencement of construction works after receipt of an initial investment capital of 850 million dollars in 2021.
Engulfed by the hushed and greenery scenery at Tano North sits thousands of the speculative structures made from metallic roofing sheets.
An aerial view reveals the structures including fishponds dotted across five communities within the concession, including Yamfo, Afrisipa, Terchire, Susuanso and Adrobaa.
The illegal structures numbering over 9,000 however do not serve as a home or sleeping place for their owners but an abode for weeds sprouting from the fertile ground.
As these speculative structures continue to spring up, their owners anticipate huge compensations, a lasting attitude actors in the mining industry are displeased with.
Speaking with Journalists for Business Advocacy, CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Sulemanu Koney was worried the perennial attitude could hamper investments in the mining industry.
“The resources belong to us. We should practically own it and put our hearts to it. We need to extract the resources optimally and with situations like this before the investments comes it’s not the very best. My heart actually breaks to see the extent of these speculative structures,” he said.
The Ahafo North project is expected to produce 3.3 million ounces of gold over its 13-year mine life with numerous job opportunities for the indigenes.
The construction period for the project presents 1,800 employments with about 550 direct job offers when the gold mine begins its operations.
The project would also provide training and skills development opportunities for the youth in the communities.
Manager, Communications and External Relations of Newmont Ahafo Mine, Samuel Osei impressed on the profound revenue generation prospects the project would contribute to the Ghanaian economy.
“The Ahafo North project presents a lot of prospects for the Ghanaian economy. Contractors who will also be employed may have more employees than what we have so this project presents a lot of employment opportunities for the people. Lot of opportunities in the local procurement. For the general economy we have enhanced taxes and royalties that will come to the local economy,” he said.
Following a stakeholder engagement meeting with the government, Newmont Ahafo mine agreed to disburse a relief support worth 45 million Ghana cedis to owners of the unauthorized structures in the five communities.
The payment, which commenced in August 2022, has since seen over 1,400 of the 4,300 owners receiving payments.
Coordinator for the Ahafo North Relief Support Sylvester Amankwah-Koranteng anticipates a speedy disbursement to initiate processes for the functioning of the mine.
“In terms of cash, we have a little over 23,000 Ghana cedis. We have about 9,791 structures in the data that we are using for repaying but about 90 of them do not have codes. Out of this 9,000 we’ve validated about 7,000 of them. These structures we are paying include hen coops and the usual village kind of washroom,” he said.
Meanwhile, the mining company is yet to commence compensations for legal occupants of structures on the mining concession with resettlement negotiations ongoing.
Crop compensations however commenced in 2021.
Community leader, Charles Bright Boachie, is satisfied with the smooth disbursement of the relief support.
“We started very slowly but after that when the education went round people are now coming. People have understood the situation and they are ready to receive their monies. The payment process is going on,” he said.
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