When well-managed mining companies operate in a country, resources derived aid to achieve sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.
That is what is manifesting in Gbane, a mining community in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.
Some residents of Gbane say, their lives have been transformed since the Chinese mining firm, Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited through its partners, Yenyeya and Pubortaaba Mining Groups entered the community in 2008.
It is evident that the farming community, endowed with gold is fast transforming as some residents who had traveled to southern parts of Ghana in search for greener pastures have returned to the fast-growing community that was plugged in darkness for years.
But now, almost all household in the community is connected to the national grid through the electricity lines erected from Bolgatanga to the community by Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited.
A 27-year resident of Gbane, Keli-onni Prosper who is married with a child, a casual worker with the Chinese mining firm, say, the inception of the company in the community has transformed him from doing some social vices he was engaged in for a living due to lack of employment.
“First, when I was not working, life was unbearable with me and my wife but since I started working with the company, my life has improved. In the course of a week, I finds something for my wife and my mother. There were some social vices I used to engage in, but, since I joined Shaanxi, I have stopped doing all those things”.
The young man shared this life transformation story in a buttress to a media report that suggests that, the Chinese mining company had caused havoc to lives, properties and economic trees like the shea.
The media report quoted Mr. Keli-onni during a meeting organized by a group called “National Patriots against Injustice and Corruption (NAPAIC)” as saying that Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited took over his father’s farmland thereby making live unbearable to him.
But in a sharp rebuttal weeks after the publication, the casual worker with Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd in an angry mood, discredited the attributions given him in the report.
“I was going to watch a football match in Gaare with one of my friends, so, when we got to the venue of the meeting, our former assembly man who organized the meeting told us that the purpose of meeting is for only women. So, after the meeting our former assemblyman and a stranger [journalist] met us and told us that the meeting seeks to bring development to the community, which we lauded the idea.
But the outcome of the falsehood report leveled against me is an indication that our former assembly man and the stranger [journalist] came to our community to achieve their selfish interest but not for the interest of the community as they deceived us to believe. I don’t even know my father’s land so how can they said I told them that my father’s land was taken”.
A mother, Kutiiba Belimyim who is in her late 60s said, she was misrepresented in the media report. Madam Belimyim indicated that, the operation of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd, since its inception in the Gbane community has never affected her farmland neither has the company taken off her livelihood by cutting down Shea trees on her farmland.
“The company has never gotten closed to my farmland nor has shea trees in my farm cut down by the company. Just that the shea trees are not fruiting and that cannot be attributed to the operation of Shaanxi. I can swear that, I never, during the meeting say the company has destroyed my shea trees. So, those claims in the report are not factual”.
An opinion leader in Gbane, Fahad Bagmeritame indicated that the mining company since its start of operation in the community has built schools, drill boreholes, constructed some roads which were inaccessible to residents and many youth in the area “can now boost of block houses and better livelihoods through the operation of Shaanxi”
Mr. Bagmeritame who revealed that even though he and others had their lands affected when the company was going to acquire an office space, they were dully compensated.
“It is not true that Shaanxi has taken any land without compensation. It is not true and I repeat, it is never true”.
The 53-year native of Gbane who said he witnessed the entry of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Ltd into the community wonders why those “anti-Shaanxi” will continue to soil the image of the company that has transformed the community.
“Shaanxi is not doing surface mining so the claim that the company cut down trees is not true, it is false. Those who met the women here had an agenda. They are anti-Shanxi [and] everyday, they want to get a bad name for Shaanxi. They have their group here [Gbane]. If every day there are falsehood accusations against the company, the developmental projects they [Shaanxi] are going to do for the community will be washed away”.
A1 NEWS independent checks at the operations area of the company saw well-grown economic trees like shea and others – an indication that the company places a strong priority in protecting the environment by planting trees to replace trees that were cut down for its office space.
The findings further saw green forest-like environment with shea nut trees dotted all over the concession of the company.