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Talensi: Demanding 7% royalty from Earl International is too ambitious – DCE

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A group calling itself the Talensi Mining Communities’ Initiative (TAMCI)  is demanding compensation from Earl International Group and other mining companies whose actions led to the death of 16 young men in a mining pit in 2019.

It would be recalled that in 2019 some small scale miners were trapped in a mining pit in the Talensi Constituency of the Upper East Region.

Bright Laandolba, the Secretary to Talensi Mining Communities’ Initiative who read the press statement on behalf of the group, in Bolgatanga accused Earl International Group, formerly known as Shaanxi Mining Company of deliberately masterminding the death of the young men.

In line with the concerns of the group about mining in the Talensi area, it recommended that; “Parliament of Ghana should investigate the issuance of the licence to Earl International Group amidst all licence fields; the 16 young men who were murdered in 2019 should be integrated into the Bantama concession as stakeholders; all concessionaires who have portions of land where Earl International has acquired for its large-scale mining operations should be given up to 7% royalty; Earl International should desist from illegally mining on unauthorised places or concessions; the Ghana Immigration Service should look into the legal statuses of all Chinese workers at Shaanxi/Earl International mine at Gbane; a resettlement/compensation committee should be setup to begin negotiation process of resettling the occupants at Obuasi site to pave way for the company’s operations; if what the aggrieved members are alleging is true, we strongly encourage the regional minister to take steps to prevent another Rockson scandal.”

The Talensi DCE, Thomas Duanab Wuni Pearson is however wondering the basis of some of the demands of the group. The Talensi DCE explained that conversations around social responsibilities are rather nuanced and must be handled with tact. 

“We have the SCR. These are the things that we us a community and the companies, we have to come together and agree. The mining laws provide the framework and there are some things that legally, the companies are supposed to do. Those ones, they cannot run away from. They would do them but because we ourselves, the disagreements are too many, it takes a long time to be able to fashion out the corporate responsibility agreements with the companies. Even though we have two large scale mining companies in the area, it is actually one of them that is in production and that is Earl [International]. Cardinal is still in the process and I believe that in the next 3 years, they may be fully operational. Road construction may not be part of what they do but as good corporate citizens, we may be able to talk them into helping. If you look at the other side, from Balungu, Cardinal, nobody forced them to construct the road. They thought that by constructing a road off the Tongo market, we’ll be shortening our movement in our operational area and it would add value to what we do, and they did. I read somewhere, I think there was a press conference or so and some of my brothers were asking for 7 percent royalties; good. It is good but it is too ambitious. It is too ambitious. Where is your reference point? Can you cite some corporate institutions in some countries? There’s gold mining in Australia, there’s gold mining in South Africa. Can you tell us where in the world a gold mining company gives 7 percent? If it is doable, why not? We would all enjoy.”

The “wild” expectations, according to Mr. Wuni Pearson, could have consequences. 

“When you go very wild, sometimes they ask, where are these people coming from? AGC was in this country for over 100 years and you know what we were getting as a country? # percent. If production is good and you are even getting 1 percent, you will still be good. It is not the percentage point. It is how you use the money. Let us not antagonise the companies. We need them. We have a workforce of over 1 thousand working within the mining enclave; formalised workers. If we do chooboi  and they shut down, we lose. They don’t lose. 

Source: A1radioonline.com|101.1MHz|Mark Kwasi Ahumah Smith|Ghana

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