The Concerned Farmers Association, a minority group affected by the Newmont Ahafo North project, is demanding fair compensation from the company. The group consists of 84 members whose properties are located within the Mine’s concessional area in the Tano North Municipality. They argue that the company’s actions violate the nation’s Minerals and Mining Act.
The Newmont Ahafo North project aims to mine between 270,000 and 325,000 ounces of gold annually from a 10,000-acre concessional area spanning five major communities. Construction at the Mine’s plant site in Afrisipakrom is expected to be completed next year, with operations commencing in mid-2025.
However, the farmers and property owners in the Mine’s catchment communities of Terchire, Adrobaa, Afrisipakrom, Susuanso, and Yamfo claim that the Mine’s operations have also involved human rights violations and abuses. They accuse Newmont of unlawfully entering their lands and destroying their farms and properties.
During a news conference held in Terchire, the farmers expressed their dissatisfaction with Newmont’s failure to conduct land assessments and surveys, resulting in the destruction of their lands. They allege that the company’s exploration team has impacted farms that have not yet been compensated, suggesting that this was not accidental but a deliberate unlawful operation.
The Chairman of the Association, Mr. John Mensah, stated that Newmont had unlawfully entered and destroyed the properties of eight members without their consent. These properties include teak plantations, cocoa farms, palm trees, and food crops. Despite admitting to the destruction, Newmont has failed to compensate the affected farmers and landowners, disregarding the fact that these farms are their primary source of livelihood.
Mr. Mensah also mentioned that when the farmers tried to protect their farms from destruction, Newmont, in collaboration with the Tano North Municipal Police, arrested and detained four members. The reasons for their arrest and detention were unclear, and upon their release on police bail, one member discovered that his 16-acre teak plantation had been cleared by the company.
According to Mr. Mensah, Newmont has no right to enter the lands for mining activities, as stated in Section 13(9) of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006, Act 703. The Association members are law-abiding citizens who have invested significantly in their farms over the years. They will continue to protect their investments through lawful means and demand respect for their rights under Ghanaian law, despite intimidation and harassment from Newmont and its agents.
When contacted for a response, Mr. Samuel Osei, the External Relations Manager of Newmont Ahafo North project and Newmont Ahafo South Mine, stated that the company would address the issue at a later time.