There is a looming clash between farmers and workers of Adio Mabas Ghana Limited and Perseus Mining Ghana Company Limited at Denkyira- Bremang, a cocoa growing community in the Upper Denkyira West District of the Central Region,DAILY GHANAINAN GUIDE can report.
This worrying situation, this paper can state, requires the urgent attention of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo- Addo to impress upon the Minister of National Security and the Central Regional Security Council to intervene to bring a lasting peace between the workers and aggrieved residents in the area.
The situation, which portends danger,DAILY GHANAINAN GUIDE gathers, followed what hundreds of residents who are predominantly farmers in Denkyira- Bremang consider as the use of brute force by Adio Mabas Ghana Limited to fiercely ensure the drilling and exploration works of its employee, Perseus Mining Ghana Company Limited, to invade their farm lands and explore with the intention of prospecting for gold.
According to the farmers, indications were clear that the company, with tacit support from the Dunkwa Police Division of the Ghana Police Service, were bent on going ahead with its exploration activities without the consent of the farmland owners, contrary to mining and exploration rules of engagement.
“We have not entered into any agreement with the so-called Adio Mabas Ghana Limited which is currently claiming to be the concession owner of our farmlands that offer us a reliable source of livelihood. “We the people in Bremang are farmers who usually engage in the production of food crops such as maize, cocoyam, cassava and cocoa, but we are saying the company has hired Perseus Mining Ghana Limited to forcibly enter into our farmlands and constructed roads through our lands to drill and explore the lands for gold which activities were threatening our natural resources and vast arable lands. “In Bremang, cocoa farming is our business.
We are able to finance our children’s education from the sale of cocoa and cash crops like oil palm. We are an agricultural community and we want to remain as farmers, hence Bremang opposes gold mining even if the company is issued with the necessary mining permit,” they asserted. “Our President, we are calling on you to intervene in this matter because there is ongoing exploration activities on our farmlands by workers of Perseus Mining Ghana Company Limited who are being hired by Adio Mabas Ghana Limited.
“We are currently appealing to our President because our countless petitions made to the Central Regional security regulatory institutions and personalities including the Central Regional Minister, Member of Parliament (MP) for Upper Denkyira West constituency, Diaso District Police Commander and the District Chief Executive (DCE) for Upper Denkyira West District among others to call on the company to order, have not yielded any positive result, hence our call on you as our President,” the affected farmers in a meeting with DAILY GHANAINAN GUIDE said. The farmers further appealed to the President to ask the acting Inspector General Police (IGP), Dr George Akuffo Dampare, to immediately call to order the Dunkwa Divisional Police Commander, accusing the senior police officer of imposing the company on them. And under the guise of exploration, the farmers reported that the company has allegedly been using the police to unjustifiably harass locals of the community.
They cited the current threat being issued on their lives by the senior police officer on Friday, October I, 2021, when the officer invited them to Dunkwa Divisional Police station for a meeting to find out about their response to the exploration activities being carried out by the company on their farmlands at Bremang. At the said meeting, the farmers stated that the police officer made it clear to them by saying that “we would find every means and ways to ensure that the company mines gold on your farmlands even when you (the farmers and the residents) do not agree with the company.”
However, a recent fact-finding mission to Denkyira-Bremang, by DAILY GHANAINAN GUIDE established that the Adio Mabas Ghana Limited entered into a contractual agreement with Perseus Mining Ghana Company Limited to start drilling and exploration activities by placing red banners and pegs on the farmers’ lands.
That development, the paper discovered, incurred the wrath of the farmers on the workers of the mining company where the agitated farmers questioned the illegalities of the acquisition of their farmlands by Adio Mabas Ghana Limited, adding that they inherited the lands from their ancestors and that it was the only farmlands bequeathed to them to make ends meet. According to them, some unauthorised persons who have styled themselves as owners of Bremang lands were using very coercive approaches to deceive and give their ancestors fertile farmlands to gold mining companies without their consent. One of such companies, Adio Mabas Ghana Limited, the farmers noted, ignored their decision that they were not ready to give out their only fertile agriculture lands to them to mine gold. Instead, the company, through some clandestine means, entered into their lands and started doing exploration. They stated that the action of the company was completely a breach of the provision of the Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) under the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
“We are saying that we are not ready to give our lands to any mining company to mine gold. Although this company, together with one Twireboah Kwabena, have entered into our farm lands to prospect for gold, we the majority of Bremang farmers are saying a big no to any gold mining activities.” When the paper reached management of Adio Mabas Ghana Limited, our reporter was conducted round the company’s ongoing exploration activities. This was led by the Administrator of Adio Mabas Ghana Limited, Mr George Okine, together with the Senior Community Relations Officer of Perseus Mining Ghana Company Limited, Mr Emmanuel Armah, and the Senior Exploration Geologist of Perseus Mining Ghana Company Limited, Mr Charles Kofi Adu. They briefed our reporter on how the company has taken a drone coverage of the structure of the land in question before embarking on the exploration project.
The drone coverage showed details of the devastated effects of the illegal small-scale mining activities on lands of the farmers prior to their entry. Our reporter observed that the company did its exploration by way of constructing roads through the farmlands of the farmers who only agreed on the grounds that they would be paid adequate compensation for the damage of their crops. However, it was not clear whether the company’s activities did not cause any destruction to the crops on the farmlands of the farmers who did not consent to the company undertaking exploration on their farmlands. Responding further, the management of Adio Mabas Ghana Limited denied the assertion that they forcibly entered into the farmlands of the farmers.
The concession owners led by Mr George Okine explained that the issue of the legalities of acquiring the mining concession by the company at Bremang was lawful. He pointed out that records at the Minerals Commission showed clearly that his company secured an exploration certificate to enter into the land at Bremang to do exploration, as the laws required. According to him, as a law-abiding company it would be the last concession company to do anything illegally to infringe on the rights of the people in its host communities.
He explained that after they legally secured the environmental exploring clearance certificate, they organised a meeting with the residents (farmers) on their preparation to come and drill or do exploration activities on the said land. He added “I want to make it clear again that before we went into the land, we consulted the farm owners of the lands on individual basis and explained the concept of the exploration agreement to them in the meeting held at Diaso.”
Mr Okine said majority of the farmers from where they are going to do the drilling and exploration equally agreed and that they had negotiated the compensation payment packages for their crops for which the company activities are going to be affected. In that meeting, he added that some farmers disagreed with the company, stressing that they were not ready to allow the company to construct roads on their farms. He asserted that the only problem they were currently having was the issue of some of the farmers taking an entrenched position of not moving from their farmlands.
He mentioned that the mining laws actually protect concession owners when it comes to exploring the land to verify whether there is gold on it and duly makes space for affected farmers to be compensated. “So what I want to know is whether some of the farmers are making claims for compensation or they don’t want it?” Mr Okine quizzed. . …We saying that the concession agreement that we have in Bremang is primarily with the government through the Minerals Commission and the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to do exploration on the lands in the area.
“Usually that is how it works. So what we are doing now for which our brothers and sisters are a little bit disturbed is that we are doing exploration which does not take much space of their lands. So what we want our people to understand is that we are not depriving them from the use of their lands for farming activities. “No! We would not do that and we are only using machines to pass through their lands and then if we don’t find anything there we would go away.”
Mr Okine, however, added “if we succeed, it is now that we would come to the table and tell you as the owner of the lands that we are going to mine gold here. So what I think our brothers and sisters should understand now is that we are not doing real mining of the gold,” Mr Okine explained.
Mr Okine denied also the assertion to the effect that the owners of the company had paid monies to some individual elders at Bremang for them to lead the company to take the lands from individual farmers. “We have not reached there yet. So we are just paying for the crops which were destroyed in the cause of our ongoing exploration activities to the affected farmers where we constructed roads and did drilling and some exploration works,” he stressed.
Against this background, Mr Okine appealed to the farmers to be calm, stating that there was no cause for alarm. Pix: Hon Samuel A. Jinapor, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources Pix: The sample of the exploration activities of the company. Pix: Our Reporter in meeting with the farmers at Bremang community