General News Fri, 23 Jun 2017

Deepen the engagement with communities to avoid conflict - Simon Osei-Mensah

The Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr. Simon Osei-Mensah, has urged Asanko Gold Ghana Limited, a gold company operating the Amansie West District, to strengthen its relationship with the communities – to build trust and prevent conflicts.

It should deepen the engagement with the people in the mining communities and do everything to live up to its social responsibility.

The call comes amid growing anger and frustration by the youth in the area over the company’s operations.

They have accused it of failing to live up to its social responsibility, polluting water bodies and unsafe blasting of gold bearing rocks, which had caused deep cracks to develop on buildings.

The Regional Security Council (REGSEC) in a swift response to de-escalate the situation moved to the area yesterday (Wednesday), to ensure that that the right things are done.

Mr. Osei-Mensah said the people must feel the benefits of the gold resource being extracted from the place.

He indicated that it was important to properly consult them to know their felt needs before deciding on any development project for the communities.

This, he added, was the way to go to prevent the situation, where the company would provide projects, which might turn out to be “after all not a priority of the people”.

The Minister expressed satisfaction that the company had taken steps to deal with the concerns of the people to bring peace.

He repeated government’s determination to grow the private sector, to create jobs and wealth, and encouraged the company to hire more of the local people for jobs they had the skills and qualification to perform.

Mr. Charles Amoah, the General Manager (Operations), spoke of the company’s unswerving commitment to maintaining high standards of environmental safety.

He said the health and safety of its workers and people in the mining communities remained its top priority.

He announced that the company had given direct employment to 400 people and another 1,100 engaged by contractors working at the mine.

He said 98 per cent of the company’s skilled workforce were Ghanaians, and that 44 per cent of them came from the local communities.
Source: GNA