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17.10.2005 General News

WACAM lashes out at Newmont

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Accra, Oct. 17, GNA - The Wassa Association of Communities Affected By Mining (WACAM) on Monday called on Newmont Gold Ghana Limited to grant the resettlement demand of the people of Dokyikrom because of the construction of a dam that has cut them from other communities. According to WACAM the construction of the dam by Newmont to facilitate its mining operations had blocked the access road of the people of Dokyikrom area and cut them off from other communities, compelling people to walk about seven miles using a footpath around the water dam to link up other communities.

The communities are also deprived access to water as a result of the dam.

In a statement on the drowning on Sunday of two community members in the dam that Newmont Gold Ghana Limited had constructed over River Subri, WACAM expressed concern "the apparent insensitivity of Newmont" to the problems of communities affected by the operations of the Ahafo Mine even at the construction stage.

WACAM was commenting on the deaths of two members of the community who, it said, drowned in the dam on October 16.

"WACAM holds Newmont directly responsible for the death of the two young men that had resulted from their drowning in the dam," the statement signed by Executive Director Daniel Owusu-Koranteng said. The statement said Mr Kofi Agyekum and Mr Yaw Frimpong died when they were using the footpath on the dam on their way to deliver a message to other communities of an impending meeting with Newmont officials.

WACAM said despite claims by Newmont officials that its operations in the Ahafo Mine in Kenyase were going well, the communities were facing many problems and the death of the two attested to these problems.

Meanwhile, an official of Newmont said information they had indicated that the victims were warned of the danger in attempting to walk over the crossway, which was submerged.

"They were warned not to attempt to cross but all pleas fell on deaf ears," Newmont Communications Manager Mawuena Dumor told the Ghana News Agency. She added that efforts by eyewitnesses to save them proved futile.

She said officials of Newmont quickly passed on the information to the local Police and the two bodies were retrieved from the dam. Ms Dumor expressed the company's condolence to the bereaved families. The Police are investigating, she added.