The Omanhene of the Jacobu Traditional Area in the Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region, Nana Fosu Kwadwe Abiri II, has described as unfair the mode for distribution of mineral royalty between the Amansie Central District and the Obuasi Municipality.
In his opinion, the District is the worst-affected by operations of mining and should therefore receive a greater percentage of mineral royalty than other mining communities.
He explained that the operations of AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) over a century have rendered most lands in his traditional area unproductive, while water-bodies have also been destroyed.
Added to this are operations of small-scale illegal miners and an influx of Chinese illegal miners — which has created social and environmental problems for residents.
Addressing a community forum in Jacobu to sensitise communities in the Amansie Central District on how to promote transparency and accountability in the utilisation of mineral revenue, Nana Fosu Kwadwe Abiri II took a swipe at AngloGold Ashanti for neglecting people living within the company’s operational area.
According to him, the multinational mining company has turned deaf ears to several appeals he has made for it to support development in his traditional area.
“For instance, I have written three letters to them for assistance to build a palace. They have not even bothered to acknowledge receipt of the letters,” he said, fuming with anger. This is in spite of the fact that the Jacobu community provided security for AGA in its early years when the company came under several attacks from raiders.
The community forum was one of several activities under the project ‘Our Money, Our Future’ being funded by STAR-Ghana with support from Shaft FM.
The project is aimed at strengthening accountability and responsiveness in the utilisation of mineral revenue in four mining districts: Amansie Central, Adansi North, Adansi South and Obuasi Municipality.
In a presentation, Mr. Richard Ellimah, Executive Director of Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) — a non-governmental research and advocacy organisation, took participants through the significance of transparency and accountability in the utilisation of mineral revenue.
He disclosed that contrary to perceptions, the portion of mineral revenue that gets to the district level is very minimal — approximately nine percent in all.
This therefore disables the district assemblies and traditional authorities from undertaking any significant development projects to address the negative impacts of mining.
Mr. Ellimah tasked participants to come up with proposals for an upward adjustment in the percentage paid to the districts assemblies and traditional authorities.
“District assemblies and chiefs must be transparent and accountable to the community so that the constant conflicts between them and the communities will cease,” he said.