Concern is said to be mounting in the Buu–Yao District of Nimba County, over the year-long operations of a mining company known as Jonah Capital.
On November 16th, citizens of the district called a meeting, during which they questioned the company about its operations and lack of benefits to the community.
The meeting, which was presided over by Rep. Samuel Korgar of Nimba Electoral District # 5 and District Commissioner Daniel Zekpeh, brought together more than 100 concerned citizens.
“We want to know the details of how you got here, and what will be our potential benefits from the work you are carrying out,” Commissioner Zekpeh inquired of the Jonah Capital’s management.
Jonah Capital is a Ghanaian-based Australian and British mining company that has been carrying out exploration on a mountain range located between Buu–Yao and Tweh River Administrative Districts, precisely around Yao Nanlah and Beo Ganaglay.
The citizens said since Jonah Capital began operating in their district, there have been no visible benefits for their communities where the exploration is taking place.
Our correspondent said the road along the mining site remains in poor condition, and there have been no community outreach programs informing the community of their basic social benefits.
“The issue of social assistance to the community is said to be in limbo, as no one knows how much is being spent on the project to determine the percentage the community and the county at large should [receive],” Commissioner Daniel Zekpeh stated.
Some citizens were threatening to take the law into their own hands and stop the company's operations until a full agreement could be reached on what their social benefits should be.
Nimba County is one of a number of counties that have witnessed a boom in mining operations, with companies rushing into it for exploration activities. One of such companies is BHP Biliton, an Australian Mining Company, that has been in Nimba for more than five years now.
Before starting its exploration, BHP Billiton reached an agreement with the county and the affected communities where their operations were based. According to our Correspondent, BHP Billiton presently gives over US$100,000 every year in social benefits to Nimba County.
At the same time, BHP Billiton has opened up most of the feeder roads around their concessional areas.
Jonah Capital has been operating on three mountains, including Gbeiadia, Gorn, and Borberh since last year, but the community and the county are yet to benefit in any form. Feeder roads around the most-affected community are still untouched.
The citizens’ meeting ended with the district selecting seven citizens to work alongside the company; they will give feedback to the community on the level of work the company has carried out.
Jonah Capital was represented at the meeting by its Operations Manager, Stephen Alfuo, who stated that the company was still carrying on exploration and could not reach any MOU with the citizens until they have discovered what they were looking for.