- Enhancing The Capacities Of Mining Communities For Accountable And Transparent Natural Resoure Governance In Northern Ghana
- Mobilizing, Building Partnerships And Capacities For Transparent And Responsible Natural Resource Governance In Northern Ghana
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Cc: All media houses
16TH September, 2022.
Rejoinder: COMPENSATION FOR SETTLERS IN OBUASI MINING SITE, GBANE
The attention of management of Earl International Group [GH] Gold Ltd has been drawn to a press conference organized by some two groups that call themselves the Savanna Research & Advocacy Network (SRAN) and the Foundation for the Transformation of Marginalised Areas (TAMA Foundation Universal) on the above subject matter. The hastily circulated statement is entirely at variance with the intents and purposes of the exercise our company has embarked upon in the last three days.
The Earl International Group Ghana Gold Ltd. (EIGGGL) has a large scale concession area of 16.02Sq.Km in the Gbane mining Community. Prior to the grant of this large scale area, a number of small scale mining groups-licenced and unlicenced- existed in the area. Having successfully acquired the large-scale mining lease, EARL was confronted with the challenge of either coexisting with the small-scale miners over the same licenced area or finding an amicable exit plan for the small scale miners who hitherto occupied this area. It was however apparent both large scale and small scale operations couldn’t be on the same licenced area as such posed eminent dangers ans unsafe acts to either side. Together with government, an exit strategy was designed to have the small scale miners relinquish their interests in the area. Government quickly facilitated an agreement (MOU) between the small-scale miners and the company which among other conditions stipulated that:
i. Good will packages (compensation) be paid to the over 39 small scale mining groups that existed in the area. These 39 different groups have since amalgamated and become partners of the EIGGGL large scale business in Ghana.
ii. 2% of gold royalties be paid to the amalgamated small scale miners twice every year, to serve as alternative, sustainable income source to the concession owners
iii. 200 small scale miners’ employees/staff/workers be employed by EIGGGL as an alternative livelihood source to workers of the concession owners
iv. Small scale mining concession owners to disband their staff for onboarding into EIGGGL
An amount of One Million Dollars was expended in this exercise. In other words, the agreement was successfully executed with compensations duly paid, recruitment of workers ongoing and miners now awaiting payment of shares.
It has been the expectation of both parties- EIGGGL and government that these small scale miners would clear off the concession and to allow the company have unfettered access to its tenement and mine in very safe atmosphere. However, hundreds of these miners, including itinerant illegal miners, enter the existing small scale miners pits and
access the underground tunnels of Earl on daily and nightly basis. The drill, blast support pillars, damage equipment, steal ore, attack company staff and mesmerize the company’s operations all time. It became imperative that management secures the concession properly for mining. Thus, a joint Military, Police, NIB, Minerals Commission force together with the company took the initiative to seal off all illegal mining pits WITHIN the Earl concession and LINKED to the underground operations. It can be recalled that in 2019, about 16 illegal miners sadly lost their lives following similar illegal entries into operational areas that exposed them to hazardous conditions. It must be noted therefore that:
1. The exercise was to seal off illegal mining pits located within the company’s concession for these pits have become dubiously known for dangerous incursions by illegal miners which pose dangers to their lives as well as that of our staff.
2. Exercise is government sanctioned- led and monitored by the Minerals Commission, Military, Police, NIB and leaders of the small scale miners who signed up to the MOU. Those affected are illegal miners who on daily basis use the existing pits of the small scale miners who have subscribed to EIGGGLlarge scale business.
3. The company operates an underground mine and same has been the mode of operation in the last 13 years. This current exercise, which is in its 3rd day today, hasn’t impacted on the structures/crops/ or farmlands of the people that warrant
the CSOs calls for compensation. Mind you, compensations have already been made for these areas. For the avoidance of doubt, the company will compensate any structures / persons/ farmlands that will be impacted as and when such situations come up.
4. Well meaning CSOs should be concerned about the safety of the people and the mine. Safety is the driving force of the current exercise. It is imprudent to describe a mine that is taking measures to forestall the recurrence of mishaps as an unsafe mine. The CSOs cant be seen to approbate and reprobate.
The company has taken stringent measures to protect lives and properties in the area. It is to this extent that since the 2019 incident involving the illegal miners, no such nasty situation has befallen us. We call on all well meaning publics to support our drive towards sanitizing the mining area. That way, more of these illegal miners can get decent jobs with the company and to lead responsible lives.
Currently, over 800 youth from the area have been employed. The Mine has recently begun the sinking of two new shafts under the large scale operations to add to the existing 5 shafts. This portends massive employment opportunities for all the- skilled and unskilled. It will therefore not be out of place to call on self-seeking budding organizations to join in the sensitization of our host communities to put themselves in readiness for the upcoming opportunities instead of the alarmists approaches adopted thus far.