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31.10.2003 Kenya

Kudos to Newmont Ghana Gold Mining and Youth of Kenyase.

By Mensah-Biney, Robert
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Rejoinder: Newmont Ghana Gold Mining Reacts (www.ghanaweb.com Business News of Sunday, 12 October 2003).

It is gratifying and in fact refreshing to read about the corporate responsibility and social sensitivity that Newmont Gold has demonstrated by their actions in the dispute with the Youth of Kenyase. It is a far cry from the customary lack of sensitivity to the social problems of the local communities that other mining companies have shown by their business practices in Ghana.

For too long local communities have been sidelined in decisions affecting the operations and management of mining companies with businesses in Ghana. In most cases, these foreign companies have relied on the supposedly Ghanaian executives who do not have any allegiance to the local communities and do not care for the welfare of the local communities but their own selfish survival and their goal of using their positions to enjoy the EU lifestyles in Ghana. Newmont Ghana Gold Mining has confirmed the truth in the saying that every foreign company is different, and the good people of Ghana should take note of this and treat foreign companies as individuals with individual business practices. The good people of Ghana should therefore, evaluate the business practices of foreign companies within this context. Those of us who have had the good fortune to live in North America and work within their businesses are fully aware of their business practices and are not surprised by the social sensitivity and corporate responsibility that Newmont is attempting to bring to the mining business of Ghana. For a major mining company like Newmont to take the time to address the concerns and grievances of the local community vis a vis the Youth of Kenyase is commendable and I say Kudos to both Newmont Ghana Gold Mining and the Youth of Kenyase.

In the past, concerns and grievances of local community leaders have been regarded as treasonous and the military or police have been sent to quell and stop these so-called nation wreckers. Meanwhile, a few Ghanaian management personnel and representatives in Accra conspired with the mining companies to brutalize the local people into submission in these mining communities. Examples of these brutal actions can be found in the contemporary history of all mining communities in Ghana including Konongo, Obuasi, Tarkwa, Prestea and Dunkwa. It was shameful to witness Ghanaian management staff calling in the military and police to evict the people from the community of Atuabo in Tarkwa, to brutalize the local people of Sansu in Obuasi, to threaten the local people of Prestea and to victimize the people in other mining communities in Ghana.

I have observed the activities of the Ghana the mining industry for over three decades and I am happy to say that Newmont Gold has by their small action set the bar high for other mining companies and the Youth of Kenyase have shown the good people of Ghana that social sensitivity and corporate responsibility can be achieved through dialogue when dealing with responsible foreign companies operating in Ghana. I hope the other foreign companies operating in Ghana will emulate the actions of Newmont and begin to show social sensitivity and corporate responsibility with their business practices in the local communities that they operate. I also hope that the local people in other mining communities in Ghana will learn from the Youth of Kenyase and demand direct dialogue with the management of these companies to solve problems that arise in their local communities.

It is obvious to any intelligent observer that the so-called Ghanaian representatives (Executives) of these foreign or quasi-foreign mining companies do not represent the local people in these communities. The natives and inhabitants of these local communities are the true owners of the minerals in the ground and they are the ones that toil day and night to extract the minerals from the ground and provide the wealth that is generated by these activities. Therefore, good corporate responsibility and social sensitivity demand that the company deals directly with the people in the local community and not with the so-called Ghanaian executives who do not live and have no allegiance to the local community. It actually makes business sense!! Newmont Gold has pledged and demonstrated to abide by these principles. The good people of Ghana should commend them and give them the chance to bring prosperity and progress to the local communities around Kenyase. Views expressed by the author(s) do not necessarily reflect those of GhanaHomePage.

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