Reporting on the conflict between the mega mining project Conga and the people of Cajamarca, Peru
Aggrieved residents at Damso and its environs, mining communities within the Ahafo catchment area of the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, have threatened the lives of the expatriate workers, if the multi-national mining company failed to re-locate them.
The more than 500 residents at Botokrom, Agyamankrom, Hohorase, Asumikrom, Amadukrom and Krobeakrom, had therefore, given the mine a two-week ultimatum to do the re-settlement or face their anger.
According to the residents, a tailing dam constructed in the area by the mining company had poisoned the water system in the area, which had led to the outbreak of skin rashes and other water-borne diseases.
They told the Ghana News Agency (GNA) during a visit to the communities on Monday that in the past five years, four young men had drowned, when they attempted to cross the dam.
The GNA sighted the aggrieved residents wielding machetes and other offensive instruments chanting wars songs in their local parlance to register their displeasure against the mining company.
According to them, management of the Ahafo mine met with the opinion leaders of the communities about seven years ago and agreed to resettle and compensate them before constructing the dam, but for some years now it had failed to do so.
Opanin Stephen Appiah, the spokesman for the residents, mainly farmers, explained that communities had officially written their grievances to the Asutifi North Municipal Assembly and copied the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), but to no avail.
He said neither the mining company nor the District Assembly had shown concern about their plight and the “only thing we can do to make our voice heard is to vent our anger on the expatriate workers so that the mine will know that we are serious”.
Mr Abdul Malik, a 34-year-old farmer in the area, observed that because the few boreholes in the area were sited close to the dam, the water was always polluted.
He said before the construction of the dam, school children had to walk few kilometres to attend school at Kenyasi, but now they had to travel 12 miles.
Mr Malik said the mine had provided the about 25 settlements in the area a Benz bus, but because the school children in the area were plenty, it had to overload and send them to school at Kenyasi.