Mining in Tarkwa must yield Tangible benefit – Apinto Gyaasehene
• Nana (Dr) Bediako
Gyaasehene of Apinto,Wassa Fiase, in the Western Region, Nana (Dr) Adarkwa Bediako, has stirred a debate as to whether Ghana should continue to mine its mineral resources, arguing that “mining must develop our communities.”
He noted that Tarkwa, a mining enclave in Ghana gifted with various minerals, had contributed to the growth and development of the country but could not boast of good development dividends.
Nana (Dr) Adarkwa stressed “We should seek the benefits of Tarkwa, we seek how we use what we get from Tarkwa to develop Tarkwa.”
He made this observation last Thursday when he chaired a ceremony of Gold Fields Ghana Foundation (GFGF) to pay GH¢ 779, 583. 50 as tuition fees for 325 students in four universities in Ghana for 2022/23 academic year.
The gesture is part of GFGF’s scholarship for students from host communities who attend University of Ghana (UG), Legon, University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), University of Cape Coast(UCC) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
Nana (Dr) Bediako lamented “Our world has been bleeding for very long. There are no tangible benefits that we can see. As we speak now, five per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of this country is coming from Tarkwa and its environs.
“There’s no government wide scholarship for people in mining communities. There is no government -wide arrangements for the development of roads in mining communities. There is no government efforts to develop our communities that contribute five per cent of GDP every year, it’s a shame.”
He again argued “if there were countrywide cocoa scholarships, same could be done for mining communities so that we don’t put all burden on the mining companies.”
He told leadership to understand that “we could not continue to provide land and resources of Tarkwa for the development of the country without developing our own communities.”
Gyaasehene pointed out that although he did not agree with advocates on stopping of mining in their areas, he could see the logic in their arguments because they (chiefs) used Tarkwa-Obuasi narratives as a benchmark that mining had not benefitted mining areas.
“We need the gold to develop our country,” Nana Dr Bediako added.
He applauded GFGF and other mining companies for the ‘huge efforts’ they had made in promoting development in mining communities particularly the Tarkwa enclave and wondered whether without their benefits the education and health sectors in the area would have ‘survived’.
This, he said, must be ad dressed because “It is not about mining companies, it’s about the country.”
He continued “ Many of our communities do not have schools, and health centres, all these are being provided by the companies. What is the government doing?
“Now, we have traditional leaders saying we don’t want mining in our area, I say forget, years ago when mechanised mining started in Ghana, Tarkwa has been feeding Ghana all these years.”
Reiterating that Tarkwa had all these years been developing Ghana, Gyaasehene noted that, majority of students who received the GFGF scholarships, were not indigenes of Tarkwa or Apinto.
He stated “The narrative has to change. We need to change this narrative. We need the country to wake up and understand —Johannesburg is different because of mining, Dubai used oil –Dubai is one of the most economic centres. Why? The minerals were used to develop Dubai.”
From Clement Adzei Boye, Tarkwa