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Chirano Gold Mines compensation struggle, Ghana


Chirano Gold Mine is a combined underground and open pit gold mine in the Western Region of Ghana, owned by Red Back Mining up to 2010, when it was taken over by the Toronto based Kinross Gold (at 90%) and the Government of Ghana (10%). Over the past three decades the mining sector in Ghana rebounded, mainly on the back of gold production, thanks to the introduction of a new regime heavily influenced by the World Bank and IMF in mid-1980s. Gold production accounts for more than 90 per cent of the total value of mineral output as well as mineral revenues to the government.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Chirano Gold Mines compensation struggle, Ghana
State or province:Western Region
Location of conflict:Bibiani/Anhwiaso/Bekwai District
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Mineral Ores and Building Materials Extraction
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Mineral ore exploration
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The mine, which has a life expectancy of 10 years, produced 261,846 ounces of gold in 2011 at a cost of sale price of US$693. This was up 172,626 ounces from 2010. It realised an average gold price of $1,502 per ounce [4], giving an operating profit of over USD200million.

Project area:1000
Level of Investment:$73.4 million (final development capital 2005)
Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2004
Company names or state enterprises:Kinross Gold from Canada
Red Back Mining from Canada
Chirano Gold Mines Ltd. from Ghana
Relevant government actors:Department of Lands and Natural Resource, Land Valuation Division, Department of Finance and Economic Planning, Department of Environment, Science and Technology
International and Finance InstitutionsThe World Bank (WB) from United States of America
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Concerned Citizens of Sefwi, National Coalition on Mining, Centre for Public Interest Law
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityLOW (some local organising)
Reaction stageMobilization for reparations once impacts have been felt
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
International ejos
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Public campaigns
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Potential: Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Malnutrition, Infectious diseases
Other Health impactsWater contamination-related diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Land dispossession, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Militarization and increased police presence
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Under negotiation
Application of existing regulations
Re-occupation of land by farmers
Development of alternatives:There have been calls for the development of a small scale artisanal mining sector as a national strategy for addressing rural unemployment[1].
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:According to available information, farmers haven't been compensated yet.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703)

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

[4] Kinross Gold Corporation Annual report (2011). Available at: Accessed 4 January 2013.
[click to view]

[1] FIAN International - Human Rights violations in the context of large-scale mining operations
[click to view]

To Cook a Continent: Destructive Extraction and Climate Crisis in Africa

By Nnimmo Bassey

The World Bank, Africa Region - Policy Research Working Paper 5730; Political Economy of the Mining Sector in Ghana
[click to view]

Links to general newspaper articles, blogs or other websites

Ghana News Agency (2012). Sefwi farmers threaten to take over Chirano Gold Mines lands in Modern Ghana. Available at: Accessed: 13 December 2012.
[click to view]

Mining Watch Canada (2012). Ghanaian Farmers Run Out of Patience with Kinross/Chirano Gold Mines. Available at Accessed: 13 December 2012.
[click to view]

[2] Concerned Citizens of Sefwi. (2012). Protest note for immediate payment of compensation. Available at: Accessed 13 December 2012.
[click to view]

Attenkah, Richard (2012). Etwebo community demonstrates against Chirano Gold. Available at: Accessed 4 January 2012.
[click to view]

Modern Ghana (2011). Investment Inflow In Mining Sector Hit $770million Last Year. Available at: Accessed 4 January 2013.
[click to view]

[3] Fuseini, Napo Ali and Lee, Justice (2011). Mining Firms Destroy 82 Rivers and Steams.
[click to view]

[5] World Rainforest Movement - Ghana’s Mining Sector Regime: A Bad Deal for Affected Local Communities, Posted on Jul 10, 2015. Included in Bulletin 215
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Sicotte Levesque, Alexandra (2007). When silence is golden. Available at: Accessed 4 January 2012.
[click to view]

Stern, Jeff (2011). Glitter or Gloom?: Mining West Africas Gold Coast. Available at: Accessed 4 January 2012.
[click to view]

Journeyman Pictures (2008). The Curse of Gold - Ghana. Available at: Accessed 4 January 2013.
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Patrick Burnett and the EJatlas editorial team
Last update26/08/2015
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