The Ahafo Youth Coalition, Assembly and Unit Committee Members around the Newmont Ahafo North project have asked WACAM, a civil society organization, to cease its activities in the five major mining communities in the enclave.
“We don’t want to believe that as a civil society organization, WACAM works to disregard community norms and also to aim at emboldening individuals to disrespect their community leaders”, they stated.
At a news conference held at Afrisipkarom, a mining community in the Tano North Municipality of the Ahafo Region, the coalition stated “operations of WACAM in the area are impeding efforts towards resolving challenges between the mining company and some farmers whose properties have directly or indirectly affected by the mine”.
The Coalition is a group comprising Youth Associations in Yamfo, Techire, Adrobaa, Afrisipakrom, and Susuanso in the Municipality.
Mr Richard Addai Yeboah, the spokesman of the Coalition and the Youth Chairman of Techire, noted that a lot of progress had been made so far for the Newmont Ahafo project to compensate the farmers and residents whose properties had been directly or indirectly affected by the mine.
“We are happy to say that there has been a lot of progress, but there still continue to be some challenges that confront the Newmont Ahafo North project, notably among them is the refusal of some individuals granting access to their farms and properties for compensation”, they stated.
“We have noticed the operations of WACAM, which we can say that almost all these individual farmers who are refusing access to their farms are all members of WACAM, trying to frustrate the mine’s operations in the area”, he stated.
“What is baffling is the uttermost disrespect to the five Ahafo North Chiefs by these individuals as they continue to walk out on them at stakeholders’ meetings to tackle the issues”, Mr Yeboah stated.
“Much as we understand that it is within the individual’s rights, it is also concerned if it inhibits the collective progress of the Ahafo North project and its benefits to the local communities and the youth”, he indicated.
He regretted that “majority of the affected farmers are ready to receive their share of the crop compensation after successfully going through negotiations with Newmont, but few of the farmers are dragging the issue at court”.
Mr Yeoah called on the farmers to resolve all differences and allow the company to effect payment of compensation, saying “many of us are unhappy about the court issue which is delaying the operations of the mine”.
“It is our understanding as youth, unit committee and assembly members that, there have been many attempts by different stakeholders including the Ahafo Regional Minister and our chiefs to engage these individuals to find amicable solution, but all to no avail all because WACAM is frustrating the process”, Mr Yeboah stated.