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14.04.2009 Business & Finance

Golden star raids grumesa

By Daily Guide
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GOLDEN STAR Resources Limited, an American gold mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange, has added its name to the list of mining companies that violate the social and economic rights of people living in mining areas.

The company, without any notice to or discussions with farmers at Grumesa, a farming community in the Wassa Amenfi East District of the Western Region, has recently embarked on the destruction of food and cash crops in the town, quashing completely any means of subsistence of the poor residents .

The company claims it has obtained permit to conduct prospecting in the area but this is unfounded, Kingsley Bekoe Ansah, Coordinator of Forest Watch Ghana (FWG) told journalists in Accra.

According to him, Golden Star was exploiting farmers of the community due to the high illiteracy rate in the community, adding, those who resist the destruction of crops are summoned before authorities like the Omanhene of the Traditional Area, the District Police Officer and the District Coordinating Director and cautioned.

“Golden Star Resources is compounding the marginalized situation of Grumesa residents, especially the way in which the company uses its bulldozers to move through farms, destroying crops.”

He continued that “In terms of access to social and economic infrastructure, the community has been marginalized.

They have no clinic and the only road which is about 30 minutes drive from the community to Wassa Akropong, the district capital, has been in a deplorable condition for many years.

People living in this community therefore depend largely on environmental resources such as land, streams and products of the forest for income to support their families.”

Given the frequency with which complaints about environmental and human rights violations associated with mining and timber extraction occurs has been happening, FWG has urged Golden Star to immediately end all forms of harassment and intimidation to residents and farmers of Grumesa, stop the destruction of crops until farmers' consent is properly secured and pay compensation to those whose crops and property have already been destroyed.

It further called on the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to intervene and prevent Golden Star from harassing the community, adding that MC and EPA should exercise impartial responsibility, especially in the case of Grumesa and Golden Star.

It also called for a reform of the environmental impact assessment procedure as a way of addressing the underlying causes of the myriad of problems in the extractive sector. Moreover, the organisation has urged government to implement without delay, recommendations of the Report on the Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice regarding the social and economic rights of mining communities in Ghana.

By Samuel Boadi

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