Newmont reaffirms its commitment to respecting the culture of its host communities
Newmont Ghana today stated that it would continue to respect and work with traditional authorities to follow accepted cultural practices for dealing with the issue of the cemeteries located within the Yayaaso community.
The company also stated that it has not exhumed or relocated any mausoleum or culturally significant sites. Newmont will continue to transparently and collaboratively engage with its host communities with honesty, trust and respect.
Randy Barnes, Newmont Ghana’s Regional Vice President for Environment and Social Responsibility stated that, “We are very aware and respectful of the sensitivities surrounding sacred places and the communities’ relationships with their ancestors and will in no way interfere in these cultural matters. We will continue to consult with the traditional and opinion leaders, elders and other stakeholders in our surrounding communities in all matters that affect them and work with them in a collaborative manner to implement collectively-agreed upon decisions.”
Mr. Barnes went on to add, “In line with our usual practice of transparency and engaging and seeking the opinion of our communities prior to implementing our activities, Newmont Ghana has over the past seven years organized more than 600 meetings and participated in three Public Hearings held by the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency with various stakeholder groups at its Akyem project area.” The Environmental Impact Statement submitted by Newmont Ghana for the Akyem project and approved by the Ghana Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) contained the social and environmental impacts of the project and mitigation plans. The mitigation plans include those for the Yayaaso community, scattered hamlets and culturally significant sites and these issues have been extensively studied and publicly discussed.
In general, the majorities of the project-affected communities has participated in extensive consultations over the last seven years and are supportive of the Akyem project. There are some individuals who have residual issues that Newmont is working towards resolving, if at all possible.
Since 2005, various representative committees have been established which negotiated for adequate and fair compensation and resettlement packages. Agreements for these negotiations were reached in 2010. Significant progress has since been made on compensation payments for crops, land use deprivation and immovable properties for farmers and landowners within the mining area. A comprehensive resettlement package, which included choice of resettlement site, house types and designs has also been discussed and agreed on in 2010. Affected community members are currently going through the process of choosing their residential plots within the agreed resettlement site and house designs for construction to begin. Currently there are 24 houses under construction for qualified households.
Newmont Ghana is also replacing existing churches and schools with improved infrastructure and adding new teachers’ quarters, a Junior High School, a community centre and a marketplace. The company is also extending electricity and water to the resettlement site.
With the issue of culturally revered sites and royal mausoleum, Newmont understands that a committee of traditional leaders from both Yayaaso and Adausena is holding various meetings to decide on the best traditional and culturally acceptable method to manage these sites. The committee has advised the company that they will provide the requirements for managing the issue, together with a roadmap of activities to be undertaken.
Newmont Ghana, reiterates that as a company that respects the norms and traditions of its host communities and strives to be the most valued and respected mining company, it will be guided by the final decisions of the traditional authorities and the community representatives.