Story: Samuel Duodu, Sunyani
COMMUNITIES affected by mining in the country have been urged to always endeavour to negotiate for fair and adequate compensations from mining companies since that was their right.
Negotiating for fair and adequate compensation from mining companies should, therefore, not be seen as the affected communities asking for favours or begging for pittance, since mining activities deprived them of their sources of livelihood.
An Environmental Programme Officer of the Third World Network, Africa (TWN, Africa), a policy research organisation, Mr Abdulia Dramani, said this at a day’s workshop organised by Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), in conjunction with TWN, Africa, in Sunyani.
The workshop, attended by members selected from communities affected by mining in the Ahafo Mine of Newmont Gold Ghana Limited (NGGL) serving on the Newmont Ahafo 2008 Crop Rates Review Committee (CRRC), was to sensitise them to their rights and how to negotiate for better compensation.
Mr Dramani also warned communities affected by mining not to be fascinated or excited by the figures mentioned by mining companies during negotiations for them to abandon such meetings, because once they were equipped with the proper negotiation skills, they could go ahead to clinch a better deal.
He urged the communities going for such negotiations with mining companies, to be abreast of the country’s Mineral and Mining Laws in order to negotiate for adequate compensation that would be satisfactory to all and be paid promptly.
Mr Dramani further called on the communities to expose any mining company that used threat, intimidation and lies to cow them into submission to accept rates that were not satisfactory.
“Any mining company that comes to tell you that the government said it should pay you a certain amount, but we have decided to top it up is a lie and must be exposed,” he said.
He said the figures proposed by the Land Valuation Board for compensation were not the rates for fair and adequate compensation, but were the basic rates to guide negotiations and therefore must not be regarded as the accepted rate.
Mr Dramani further advised the communities affected by mining to present a united front at all times during the negotiation period and avoid being rushed by the mining companies to accept anything.
The Executive Director of LEG, Mr Richard Adjei Poku, urged members of the CRRC to take the workshop seriously, since it was to equip them to negotiate for fair and adequate compensation for their communities.
The participants called for prompt payment of compensation to communities affected by mining so as to remove any suspicion and mistrust.