Scores of residents in the Obuasi town of Sanso on Wednesday (8 March) launched yet another protest against AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) over the lack of employment opportunities, which they claimed has worsened the economic situation in the area.
The community also wants the government to prevail on the mining giant to halt attempts to close down the Asuokyi mine, a gold pit that has become a subject of controversy between the feuding parties in recent years.
Wearing red and black attire the protesters accused the company of bad faith after failure to respond to several petitions from their leaders. They have warned of dire consequences on their livelihoods if urgent steps are not taken to bring the matter to a closure.
“What AGA is saying is completely false. Asuokyi is not connected to the underground. In fact, our forefathers used to mine at Asuokyi long before AGA came to Obuasi. So we want everybody to treat this with a pinch of salt”, said Convener of the group Kwabena Ofori as he refuted claims the gold pit belongs to the company.
“The company has taken over 80 per cent of our land. But have failed to employ the teeming youth after it was revived by the government. None of us has been employed. We have also been exposed to so many health hazards and this is affecting us”, he added.
He however appealed to the Ashanti Regional Minister and the Ashanti South Regional Police commander to swiftly intervene since the community will resist any attempt by AngloGold Ashanti to close the Asuokyi site.
In 2020, the Akufo-Addo administration revived AngloGold Ashanti after it halted operations six years ago. But the activities of illegal miners threaten its survival.
A former Assemblyman Samuel Oduro who spoke with the media alleged shares a different view. He said the mining firm has polluted their water bodies, and destroyed their farmlands but was yet to announce any compensation package for affected inhabitants.
“We want to send this signal to AngloGold Ashanti and all those involved, we won’t leave the Asuokyi site. This is our source of livelihood, our means of survival, leaving here means we are going to die. We won’t leave”, he said amid threats.