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24.11.2004 General News

MP unhappy wth Newmont resettlement houses

By GNA

Kenyasi (B/A), Nov. 24, GNA - Mr. Paul Okoh, Member of Parliament (MP) for Asutifi North on Tuesday criticised the state of buildings constructed at Ntotroso by Newmont Ghana Limited to resettle people affected by the company's mining operations in the area.

"If the buildings are really not kitchen, but rooms to accommodate people, then it needs to be critically looked at well", he said. Mr Okoh was speaking at a forum organized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to assess a proposed mining project by Newmont at Kenyasi, its impact and mitigation measures outlined by the company. The result of the assessment would determine whether or not the company should be permitted to continue with the mine project. The MP asked Newmont to improve on the buildings saying he expected it to construct "proper and standard rooms" for the resettlement programme.

The people must also benefit from the project so that they would appreciate its importance in their area and sincerely welcome it, he added.

Mr. Okoh appealed to Newmont to fulfil its promise to the people and pay their compensations.

A 66-year-old woman, Madam Akuah Osaah of Yawusukrom, apparently pleased with the MP's remarks, walked through the crowd to Mr. Okoh and shook his hand for showing speaking about their plight.

Mr. Emmanuel Aubynn, Community Relations Superintendent of Newmont, stated that a committee had been set up to negotiate and pay compensations to all those who have lost their farms and properties due to the company's activities in the area.

He said it was not the company's intention to put up poor structures for resettlement and gave assurance that efforts were being made to correct change the design of the buildings to suit the people. Mr. Aubynn said measures had been put in place to control the level of noise and also monitor water sources to ensure that the lives of the people living in the area are protected.

He said the company would support community development so that there would not be too much pressure on facilities in the area due to increases in population.

For example, he said, the company would embark on local skill training programmes to create jobs for the youth.

Every member of the community who spoke at the forum complained about the poor nature of structures put up for resettling them and also delays in paying their compensations.

Mr Ernest Kofi Owusu, an Assemblyman for Antoa Odumasi Electoral Area, said Newmont had failed to honour its promises of job creation and improvement of infrastructure development in the area.

He appealed to the company to reconsider its decisions not to compensate farmers who owned lands considered to be fallow.

Mr Owusu expressed regret that Newmont had started prospecting at Obengkrom without seeking permission from the chiefs and asked that it should immediately remove its workers and machinery from the site.

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