Ghana: Residents resist plans for mining operations in their community
Author: Ghana Web, Published on: 6 August 2019
‘We want cocoa, not gold – Osubeng residents protest mining activities’ 2 August 2019
Residents at Osubeng, a farming community in the Kwahu South District, in the Eastern Region have kicked against plans by a Taiwanese firm, Soon Mining, to operate in their community. The community is worried about the potential destruction of arable farmlands and the environment in general. The residents refused to meet with the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kwaku Asomah Cheremeh, Kwahu South DCE, Emmanuel Atta Ofori and officials of the Taiwanese firm who were on a tour of mining communities in the area. The Taiwanese firm, Soon Mining Company, acquired a Mining lease from the Minerals Commission in July 2013 to begin operations on a 63 sq km land equivalent to 6300 hectares.
This covers over 30 farming communities including, Osubeng, Mmoramora, Sukwa, Tobi Krom, Omanso, Kwadwobeng Krom, and Kumaduoson. The Osubeng residents say they want cocoa and not gold. “Our cocoa is what we like,” they said, adding that “if it rains we are not able to use our roads.” Their anger compelled them to shout at the Minister and his entourage, stressing that no mining would be allowed in the area. They also booed at the team as they referred to the mine owners as “thieves.” It is the second time they have revolted against the Chinese firm called Soon Mining Co. Limited. It was an embarrassing moment for the Minister and the second of such protests to greet him in the region. On Tuesday, July 30, 2019, residents of Esaase protested against the presence of a Chinese Mining firm, Akroma Gold Limited when the Minister visited the town.
The community’s anger is also enforced by its lack of infrastructures such as roads, decent school blocks and health facilities. The Lands and Natural and Resources Minister however assured that the government will remain open to dialogue on the matter. Speaking to the media about the residents’ complete rejection of mining in the area, Mr. Cheremeh said “it is an opinion they have expressed that there has not been proper consultation in these circumstances. I later got to know that EPA has not come with the investor to do this consultation.”