The Adansiman Progressive Association (APA), a pressure group, has called on the government to review the current mining agreement with AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) before the company resumes operations.
The group wants a renegotiated agreement that will see an increase in the benefits accruing to the Obuasi Community Trust Fund from the current two per cent to five per cent worth of each ounce of gold produced.
The welfare fund is said to be depleted following the inactivity of the mining firm over the last four years, stalling many development projects in the area.
According to the APA, the two per cent revenue per ounce amounted to an exploitation of the people.
At a press conference in Obuasi last Monday, which was backed by the chiefs of the Adansiman Traditional Council, the group called for an immediate adjustment of the percentage as AGA was about to begin production.
The President of APA, Mr Francis Owusu-Boamah, who addressed the news conference, announced that AGA, after many years of negotiation, had finally signed a development and tax concession agreement with the government as required by law.
An agreement to that effect is currently before Parliament to be passed into law to make it operational and binding.
Mr Owusu-Boamah urged Parliament to facilitate a speedy passage of the law and to ensure that all the relevant clauses which sought to protect the welfare of the people of Adansi were adequately captured.
“We are, therefore, appealing to the government to ensure that the agreement signed will bring development and employment to the Adansi community,” he said.
Reneging of mandate
The president of the association said in spite of the original intent of the government to give the concessions to the mining firm on behalf of the indigenes to provide employment to the local people, among others, that had not been met.
“After 121 years of mining in the community, the development of the Adansi area has not improved and, therefore, the government must call AGA to order,” he stated
Mr Owusu-Boamah emphasised that the association’s own assessment indicated that AngloGold Ashanti did not deserve all the ‘generous incentives’ the government had and continued to offer it.
Among the proposals, APA wanted to see more transparency in the selection of projects funded by the Trust Fund.
Also, it proposed that if the management of AGA wanted to have the needed social licence which had eluded them, they should pay respect to the chiefs who were the custodians of the land.
Mr Owusu-Boamah said the views of chiefs in the catchment areas needed to be factored into the action plans of the mining firm, especially in the operations of the fund.
He also called for the setting up of a special fund from the revenue to accrue to the government for the development of Obuasi alone since it bore the brunt of the effects of the activities of the mining firm.