14 November 2012

Ghana: Mining Coy Signs Development Pact With Communities

RESIDENTS IN Mining communities have been urged to desist from making unnecessary demands and putting undue pressure on mining firms operating in their areas, in order to ensure peaceful co-existence amongst them.

The Board Chairman of Perseus Mining Ghana Limited and Omanhene of Kushia Traditional Council, Nana Prah Agyensaim VI, who made the call during the launch of the Edikan Community Development Fund, initiated by the mining firm, observed that the rate at which communities put undue pressure on mining companies and make outrageous demands, was worrying and does not create the enabling investor-friendly environment.

The launch also marked the official signing of a development agreement between the company and five catchment communities including Abenabena, Ayanfuri, Nkonya, Gyaman and Fobinso, which will see the company set aside an initial development seed money of GH¢ 1.5milion towards the socio-economic development of the communities.

Nana Prah Agyensaim VI said instead of concentrating their attention fighting mining firms located within their communities, stakeholders, opinion leaders and other pressure groups must hold their political leaders accountable and ensure that the royalties, corporate taxes and other taxes given to government are judiciously used for the benefits of the local communities.

"I am not by this saying that catchment communities do not have the right to demand development projects from mining companies located within their communities but sometimes some of the demands are completely outrageous.

"Let's not forget these companies pay corporate taxes, royalties, salary of workers and other financial commitments so we must bear with them and give them the enabling environment to operate," he observed.

On his part, The General Manager of Perseus Ghana Mining Company Limited, Mr. Wayne Nicolletto, said the company would contribute GH¢ 750,000 annually into the fund for the development of its impacted communities.

He said the package did not include other social interventions and educational incentives which the company regularly provides to residents of host communities over the years

According to him, the signing of the Partnership Agreement demonstrates the company's commitment to the development of the host communities adding "as a socially responsible mining company, we want to add value to the lives of our community members while doing our business,"

He said in acknowledgement of the fact that the future of the company is dependent on its ability to add value by sustainably developing, operating and closing operations to the satisfaction of their stakeholders, Perseus Mining would focus on fostering enduring relationships and partnerships with the communities in which they operate and support community development, capacity building and social infrastructure improvement.

"We see the development of this mine as a shared interest- the company and stakeholders; if we cannot continue to mine, process and sell gold then we cannot do what we are doing now, there will be no jobs, no opportunities and no community investment.

"We shall therefore continue to hold dialogue with you to ensure early identification and mutual understanding of potential issues and also establish long term relationships," He noted.

The Moderator of the Community Consultative Committee, Mr. Akwasi Gyima-Bota, hailed the agreement as a laudable initiative but appealed to the company to intensify its social intervention programmes to reduce the negative impacts of their operations on the people

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