Asanco Gold Mine Accused of human rights abuses

Aggrieved residents of Manso Konyinase in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region have accused the Asanco Gold Mining Company Limited of violating fundamental human rights of the people in the community.

“Our air is seriously being polluted, there is pollution of water bodies and noise pollution, making it dangerous to live in our community while excessive vibration as a result of the blasting by the Asanco Gold Mining Company Limited is leading to cracks and collapse of buildings in the area,” distraught residents of Manso Knyinase lamented.

Addressing a press conference recently, spokesperson for the residents of Manso Konyinase, Nana Agyin Frimpong, stated that they are unhappy about the company’s pollution of water bodies and destruction of their farm lands and homes.

He said that there was also a lack of transparency in most of the activities of the multinational gold mining company, which needed to be looked at critically.

“We want to tell our President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, that we are dying in the Manso Konyinase because of the irresponsible gold mining activities the company was carrying out in our community.

“We the people in Manso Konyinase are farmers who usually engage in the production of food crops such as maize, cocoyam, cassava and cocoa, but over the years the company has destroyed our natural resources and vast arable land making standard of living nothing to write home about,” he expressed.

 

Mr Frimpong averred that since the company commenced operations in 2014 in the area, it has populated river Ayensu,” adding that the company put rusted narrow iron pipes in the water bodies.

Contaminated water from the pits, he added, discharge into the afore-mentioned river courses thus polluting it and making the river unsafe for drinking.

 

“In Manso Konyinase, cocoa farming is our business; we are able to finance our children’s education from the sales of cocoa and cash crops like oil palm. We are an agricultural community and we want to remain as farmers,” he added.

According to the spokesperson, the gold company has failed to comply with agreement they entered into with them.

“The gold waste from the mining activities of the company should be 500 metres away from the community so that it will not expose them to health complications. And also the waste has blocked our river Ayensu from flowing to join river Offin and due to this, we are always hit with massive floods when it rains,” he complained.

 

Additionally, Mr Frimpong pointed out that “many houses have collapsed due to the company’s blasting, a development which has compelled them to call on management of the multinational company to relocate them but all to no avail.

 

He indicated that the company has also been deceiving the people by placing job advertisements on their notice board to attract local participation, but would end up employing people from outside.

He further accused the company of failing to honour training programmes for the local people.

 

He also accused the company of refusing to furnish the community youth leaders with detailed employment statistics of non-locals and neglecting companies owned by the indigenes.

 

Meanwhile, when Today made an effort to reach management of the company to respond to the allegations levelled against them, a lady who only mentioned her name as Stella picked the call and responded that she does not have the capacity to speak on these issues.

 

She went on to tell this reporter that her bosses were in the meeting at the moment and asked the reporter to call around 10 o’clock am on Tuesday, November 28, 2017 for the company’s official respond to the matter.

 

Minerals & Mining Matters

..with Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu