Newmont Ghana Committed to Compensation for all Persons Impacted by the Akyem Project Land Access
ACCRA, 23rd March, 2010 – Newmont Ghana reiterates its commitment to act with integrity, trust and respect, and in ways consistent with our social responsibility values and policies. In implementing our commitment, the company assures all individuals with farms and immovable properties, which have or will be impacted by our Akyem Project, that they will be duly compensated consistent with the express provisions in the Minerals and Mining Law and relevant provisions in the Constitution of Ghana.
Newmont’s attention has been drawn to a number of grievances expressed recently by several community members of the Akyem Project and published in sections of the media. A mining area was declared in late January which required boundary demarcation and some farmers’ crops were impacted. Crops affected by the boundary demarcation activities were inventoried. However, farmers have not yet been compensated as the priority was to demarcate the mining area boundary. Newmont is currently engaged with the affected farmers to verify affected crops and will be paying compensation as the process of counting is completed. We are compensating at the 2009 rates and when the 2010 rates are agreed, Newmont will make retro-active payments for the 2009-2010 increases.
There is an established 66-member Compensation Negotiation Committee (CNC) in place in Akyem that has the mandate of the communities in the project area to negotiate compensation on crops, immovable properties, and land deprivation and resettlement issues; with advice and support from a team of professional valuers. This negotiation forum has been the accepted process for negotiations at least since 2003 in Akyem.
The Committee comprises elected community representatives validated by project- affected farmers, relevant government regulatory agencies such as the Land Valuation Division, Office of the Administrator of Stool Lands, the Birim North District Assembly, Social Welfare, CHRAJ, NCCE and the Ministry of Food and Agriculture among other key agencies. The communities are being supported by independent Valuation Experts from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Newmont urges all affected farmers to continue to come to us directly with their complaints and grievances as has always been the case for an amicable settlement, through established and agreed-upon formal processes. We assure them that, wherever appropriate as determined by these processes, their compensation will be paid in a timely fashion.
Section 73(1) of the Mining Law states that: “The owner or lawful occupier of any land subject to a mineral right is entitled to and may claim from the holder of the mineral right compensation for the disturbance of the rights of the owner or occupier in accordance with Section 74” - which deals with compensation principles.
Further, section 73(3) says that: “The amount of compensation payable…shall be determined by agreement between the parties, but if the parties are unable to reach an agreement as to the amount of compensation, the matter shall be referred by either party to the Minister…”
Newmont, for its part, has in the past and will continue to reach agreement with the affected parties in a mutually acceptable manner. In all negotiations, Newmont has operated within the ambit of Ghanaian law and international best practice standards. We wish to assure all affected farmers and individuals that this practice will continue. It must be emphasized that the negotiation process is in progress and we are confident of reaching agreement on fair and adequate compensation with all owners and lawful occupiers soon. It is only after mutual agreement that compensation can be paid promptly.
The company once again assures all impacted persons within our Akyem Project area that we will continue to negotiate fairly and transparently through the existing channels in accordance with the law until appropriate compensation amounts are determined. In the interim, once we have completed the assessment for each farm that has been impacted by our activities we will pay out compensation at the 2009 rates and when the 2010 rates are agreed, we will pay each affected farmer the necessary top-up amount.