The Management of Newmont Ghana Ltd., has reached a truce with Landlords in the Birem North District, in the Eastern Region, leading to a halt to the three-day demonstration against the company.
Newmont agreed to allow the lawyers of the two parties to get back to the negotiation table till July 30, assuring the demonstrators of accepting some of their demands.
Mr. Agya Mensah, Process Manager of Newmont Ghana Ltd said, “Together with the DCE and the chiefs of the area, we shall ensure that all parties abide by the agreement reached to ensure peaceful coexistence”.
He affirmed that, the landlords would hear something good at the stipulated time.
Hundreds of land owners from Akyem Kotoku and surrounding areas, besieged the entrance to the Newmont Akyem Company, demonstrating against Newmont’s failure to pay them adequate compensation for lands taken from them for mining.
The demonstrators, chanting war songs, claimed the company had paid only one year compensation for their 15 year operations, thus wanted the remaining 14 years arrears paid.
They also blamed Newmont’s operations for cracks in their buildings, beside the company’s refusal to employ the youth of the area.
According to Mr. Ntiamoah Denkyira, Spokesperson of the land owners, if attempts are not made for these demands to be met by the 30th day of July as promised, “We shall embark on a violent demonstration to prevent them from operating”.
Mr. Denkyira disclosed that, the peaceful demonstration was necessitated by Newmont’s constant delay tactics that had seen them refusing to abide by their promises after assurances.
“They keep on promising to do one thing or another; then when you relax a bit they decide to play smart. This time around if they try, they won’t have it easy at all,” Mr. Denkyira warned.
The Gyasehene of Akyem Kotoku, Nana Amoh Tweretwie I, who intervened in the matter, reminded Newmont of its numerous time-buying tactics, warning that the people might not be able to contain them in the near future.
“If you keep on saying tomorrow, tomorrow, one day, tomorrow might be too late. Keep to your word and save this situation and let’s all have peace of mind,” Nana Tweretwie I warned.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of Birem North, Mr. Raymond Damte, assured the demonstrators that he would also play his part in ensuring that no party was taken for granted.
The demonstrators, from ten communities, namely Adausina, Ntronang, Hwekwae, Amanfrom (Old Yayaso), Agyenua, New Abirem, Old Abirem, Manmanso, Yaatan and Afosu, thronged the frontage of Newmont premises as early 5:00 a.m. as a large number of police men barricaded the premises.
The demonstration remained peaceful except for a brief moment of confrontation when the police prevented the demonstrators from erecting canopies at the entrance.
The impasse was brief as the demonstrators yielded to the police’s order not to erect the canopies.
Compensation package for the land owners, mostly farmers, for an acre of land, was six hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC600.00) an equivalent of about one hundred and thirty United States Dollars (USD130.00).
The compensation package for each acre of cocoa was seven thousand and two hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC7,200.00) or about one thousand and five hundred United States Dollars USD1500.00; an acre of citrus is four thousand and two hundred Ghana Cedis (GHC4,200.00) or about nine hundred United States Dollars (USD900.00) and same for an acre of palm trees.
The landlords claim the amount was to cover a year’s compensation for the destruction of the crops for a project that would last 15 years and land and crops that have become irrecoverable for life due to the massive destruction to the land for mining.
Newmont Ghana Ltd has been under fire at its operational area in Akyem for alleged exploitation and failed promises.
Residents of Birim demonstrated earlier against the company