News

Ghanaians Caught in Gold Rush

<table border="0" width="483"> <tbody> <tr> <td><object hspace="3" height="336" align="right" width="483" vspace="3" classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,28,0"> <param name="movie" value="http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/projects/ghana480/project/soundslider.swf" /> <param name="quality" value="high" /> <embed hspace="3" height="336" align="right" width="483" vspace="3" src="http://www.voanews.com/MediaAssets2/english/projects/ghana480/project/soundslider.swf" quality="high" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" type="application/x-shockwave-flash"></embed> </object></td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

Newmont's Ahafo mine in Ghana
Newmont's Ahafo mine in Ghana

Multimedia

Audio

Ghana is one of the world's top producers of gold, now mining more than five times as much as gold as it did in the early 1990s.  With gold prices at record highs, more companies are rushing to Ghana for a piece of the action. 

At the government's Minerals Commission in the capital city of Accra, director Joseph Aboagye, unfurls a huge map.
 
"We have a map showing all the concessions that have been granted in the country," he said.

Red and blue boxes on the map show where companies are looking for gold, green marks active mining.  The gold-rich areas of Ghana are saturated with colors - they are covered in mining activity.

Aboayge says in 2006, his government changed its mining laws to attract international investors. 

"The old law was operated for about 20 years and then somewhere along the line we saw that we were not competitive, so we reviewed it," he said.

More than 220 companies are mining or looking for gold in Ghana, one of them is Newmont.  The U.S.-based miner is the world's second largest gold company.  Newmont has one surface mine in Ghana.  Before it is done, almost half a billion tons of rocks will be blasted out of the ground.

It is a huge amount of work.  For every three rocks that come out, only one of them has gold.  All those rocks go somewhere.

Newmont had to relocate about 10,000 people to make way for its mine.

In one resettlement community, Ama Nokpeta feeds her toddler in front of the small yellow house Newmont moved her to four years ago.  She says life is worse after the move.

She says Newmont made a lot of promises, including free water and electricity and jobs for their husbands.  But she says none of the promises have been kept.

Newmont declined to comment for this story.  But activists and community leaders on both sides have been vocal about the company's operations.  Newmont has gotten a lot of attention for its plans to open another, equally large mine, northeast of Accra.

Martha Asamoah is cutting back weeds on her orange and palm-tree farm.  Once the new mine is built, this place will be a reservoir for ore after the gold is extracted - mine waste.

Asamoah and the other farmers on this land will get compensation from Newmont.  The company pays about $1,400 for an acre of palm trees.  Martha says she can earn a little under that for an acre of palm trees each year, but she can keep earning it as long as the trees last - 25 years.

Asamoah says every year her crops grow bigger, so she earns more than the year before.  She says that is why she does not want Newmont to come.

But many people are hopeful about the potential mine - they see new jobs and new development.  The community leaders in the area have all spoken in support of the new project.  At the government's Minerals Commission, Joseph Aboagye says the mining companies have been good for Ghana.

"They are contributing a lot to the local community," he said.  "Some have been providing hospitals, roads, schools."

"Some place it help peoples," said Belinda Susu, who is frying fish and sweet potatoes by the side of the road near Newmont's proposed mine site.  She says her business will improve when the mine opens, but she is also worried about the town's future, because some mine waste contains cyanide.

"I think we will have disease, the chemicals they will be using here will affect us," she said.

Newmont's current mine had a cyanide spill earlier this year, killing fish in a nearby river.  The company says it was a small incident and has been cleaned up.

Newmont is waiting for the Ghanaian government to sign off on the new mine.  The company says its new mine will produce as much gold as its current mine in Ahafo.  Last year, that mine earned Newmont nearly almost $175 million.  

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountaini
X
July 02, 2015 4:10 AM
Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs