ACA Legal Team Educates Juaso Victims on Mining Compensation Procedures as the Community’s Fight for Survival Continues.
The community of Juaso seem to be re-living one of their worst nightmares. Within the past few years, most of them have lost an immeasurable number of resources due to mining activities being carried out in the area by Kibi Goldfields Limited (KGL). Farmers have lost large tracts of land, depriving them of their major sources of income with little or no compensation. Many families have lost a greater part of their heritage to these miners. As a result, community members have become disillusioned as their complaints to local authorities to halt the menace and for compensations to be made, seem to be falling on deaf ears.
Farmlands that were once fertile grounds for food crops have now been replaced by stony roads. The indigenes complain of the use of the military to intimidate them into accepting the conditions laid out to them. Community members reckon that they woke up one morning to the realization that activities such as cutting down of trees had been going on at night while they were asleep. Some attest to being told by KGL that the activities were carried out at night because they were conscious of the fact that the community would not approve of them.
KGL has been granted the permit by the government to mine in the area but have failed to follow proper consultation processes with the community and have also ignored the statutory compensation procedures according to Ghanaian law, thereby providing either meagre compensations or nothing at all to affected victims
It is saddening knowing that these people are being deprived of their major source of livelihood without proper compensation. As part of Advocates for Community Alternatives’ (ACA) role in ensuring that these communities sustain their livelihood, a partnership was formed with Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL). The goal of this partnership is to guide communities like Juaso to make informed decisions and take actions regarding issues related to mining and its impact on the community.
To that effect, the Executive Director of ACA, Jonathan Kaufman paid a visit to Juaso on Friday 21 May 2021 to have a clearer picture of the situation and to educate the people on their rights with respect to compensations. During the interactions, he clearly explained the legalities surrounding compensations with regards to areas affected by mining enshrined in the laws of Ghana. Mr. Kaufman also highlighted the fact that some of these laws were not in alignment with international laws.
He educated the community on those areas which were excluded from mining procedures (forest reserves, water bodies) and those which were not (fields, homes, schools, roads). This was aimed at creating awareness on the long-term consequences these activities might have on them if proper measures were not taken.
The ACA team accompanied by four community members also visited the site to enhance the knowledge of the community on how compensation plans work. This included Francis, a 42-year-old farmer who had been greatly affected by these mining activities. Based on what he had lost, and with the guidance of a compensation template, the group was able to develop an estimate of what his compensation ought to have looked like. The difference in the methods of compensation plans per company was also taken into consideration. Community members felt cheated by the revelations of the findings. A template was provided to aid the community calculate the value of what they had lost.
It is worth noting that the initial mining site on which KGL was carrying out its activities had been abandoned in search of a new site. The big question here is “Is KGL giving the community members their rightful due after the destruction being caused?”
These and other thought-provoking questions are the drivers that prompt ACA to join forces with the community in seeking possible solutions towards ensuring that the people of Juaso are adequately compensated by these mining companies.