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Newmont's Ahafo gold mine, Ghana

IFC supported exploitation of Ahafo Gold mine by Newmont. Communities suffer from displacement, loss of livelihoods and recurring cyanide pollution


The exploitation of Ahafo gold deposits led Newmont to dispossess farmers and communities from their ancestral lands. Only at the initial phase of the project, Newmont relocated 9,500 Ghanaians, mostly subsistence farmers. Yet their relocation did not imply they have access to the same means of livelihood (water resources, level of crops’ yields, fish ponds etc.), as before. Ten communities are directly affected by the Ahafo South mine: Kenyasi N.1, Kenyasi N.2, Gyedu, Ntotroso, Wamahinso, Terchire, Susuanso, Yamfo, Adrobaa and Afirisipakrom. Then, at every stage of the mine expansion, Newmont has displaced and  dispossessed many locals in exchange of monetary compensation. But the amount of the compensation is not subject to negotiation, the residents have to accept the price put by the Resettlement Negotiation Committee on their land. What’s more, the multinational does not always finance resettlement.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Newmont's Ahafo gold mine, Ghana
State or province:Brong-Ahafo Region
Location of conflict:Asutifi North 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:Deforestation
Tailings from mines
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Gold
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) is a Ghanaian subsidiary wholly owned by Newmont Mining Corporation. NGGL commercially exploits the Ahafo South mine since June 2006. The life expectancy of South Ahafo mine is at least of twenty years. The mine includes four open pits: Subika (since 2006), Apensu (since 2006), Awonsu (since March 2008) and Amona (since July 2010) [1]. The Ahafo North mine ores remain under exploration. For the exploitation of Amoma pit, extending over 562 ha, 1.652 people were displaced. The company reports that its annual gold production varies between 315,000 and 345,000 ounces and it is expected to grow between to 550,000 and 600,000 by 2018. In 2016, the Ahafo Mine generated $1,03 billon and paid $78 million to the Ghanaian government ($36 million as royalties and $42 million as taxes) [2]. The Subika pit grew underground by June 2017. The underground exploitation is expected to add between 150,000 and 200,000 ounces of production annually [3]. The investment for that extension underground reaches between $300 and $380 million [4]. Besides the four open pits, the mine comprises waste rock disposal facilities, a mill and processing plant, a water storage facility and tailing storage facilities.

Project area:2,426
Level of Investment for the conflictive project200,000,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:50,000
Start of the conflict:01/01/2006
Company names or state enterprises:Newmont Mining Corporation from United States of America
Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) from Ghana
Relevant government actors:Ghanaian Government, the Environmental Protection Agency
International and Finance Institutions International Finance Corporation (of World Bank) (IFC) from United States of America
International Cyanide Management Institute - Certified the Ahafo mine in 2008, as being up to standard.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Ecumenical Association for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development -(ECASARD), Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis, WoMin, Group for Livelihood and Environment (GLE).
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Industrial workers
International ejos
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Creation of alternative reports/knowledge
Development of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Mine tailing spills, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Groundwater pollution or depletion, Reduced ecological / hydrological connectivity, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems, Soil erosion
Other Environmental impactsRecurrent cyanide spills, rivers and streams of Subri, Awonsu, Yaa-Chain, destroyed, drinking water that used to be free is not available anymore, locals have to pay for it, so do they have to pay for non-timber forest products that they used to get for free in the forest that has now been mined (that specially impacts women who take care of providing the families with water and forest products).
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Violence related health impacts (homicides, rape, etc..), Health problems related to alcoholism, prostitution, Infectious diseases, Accidents, Occupational disease and accidents, Deaths
Potential: Other Health impacts, Malnutrition
Other Health impactsSpread of HIV, tuberculosis, increase of malaria; upper respiratory tract infection, gastroenteritis and diarrhea, deaths of workers in Newmont's operations.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Specific impacts on women, Displacement, Land dispossession, Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Militarization and increased police presence
Potential: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment
Other socio-economic impactsTeenagers raped and getting pregnant by miners, Newmont reports to have resettled 644 households since 2005, overall increase of unwanted pregnancies and abortions, school aged girls being forced into prostitution, increased food prices (reduced production of cassava, yam and plantain), youth increasing involvement in dangerous artisanal mining.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Compensation
Violent targeting of activists
Proposal and development of alternatives:Proposals of alternatives, gathered by WOMIN durung their action research project with the women from Ntotroso (5)
"The women of Ntotroso are appealing for the following:
• Government to make mining laws accessible to the citizens of the country, especially women;
• Rehabilitation in the form of training and investment support for alternate livelihoods for all those whose lands have been expropriated;
• Restructured compensation packages from Newmont to cover long-term losses all those affected by Newmont operations;
• Improved resettlement packages from Newmont as per the needs of those resettled;
• The inclusion of women in all mining-related negotiations between communities, government and companies;
• Appropriate regulation by government to assure that mining activities are environmentally friendly and not hazardous to people and community dwellers. Where damage is likely to be caused, the cost of such damage should be estimated and paid by companies in advance;
• Monitoring and evaluation systems should be put in place to check the activities of mining companies;
• Democratic and inclusive community involvement in the signing of memoranda of understanding;
• Education, training and employment opportunities for women and girls in mining affected communities."
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Despite the attention this mine and its impacts have attracted and still attract, its exploitation, and the potential expansion to Ahafo North pits, proceed with the rhythm imposed by Newmont. Neither compensation nor conditions of resettlement have been renegotiated.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

State Lands Act from 1962 (amendment in 2000)

Minerals and Mining Act, 2006

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

(5) Report, The Impact of Mining on Women Farmers in Ntoroso, Asunafu District, Brong Ahafo
[click to view]

Clash on the land - Mining destroys farming life in Ghana, Womin
[click to view]

Summary Ahafo South Project, August 2005
[click to view]

Assessing the Social and Economic Effects of Mining on Women Affected by NGGL, WACAM and Ford Foundation, October 2016
[click to view]

Bugri, J.T. & Kumi, S., (2018). Dynamics of community perceptions, common resources and compensation practices in mining: The case of Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd at Ahafo . International Journal of the Commons . 12 ( 1 ) , pp . 1–25 .
[click to view]

Review of Wacam Report" Assessing the Social and Economic Effects of Mining on Women Affected by NGGL”, August 2017
[click to view]

Moisés Arce, Rebecca E. Miller. 2016. Mineral Wealth and Protest in Sub-Saharan Africa

African Studies Review, 59: 3, pp. 83-105
[click to view]

Resettlement Action Plan, Amoma Project Ahafo, Ghana, February 2009
[click to view]

More teenagers getting pregnant in Amansie West, February 5th 2018
[click to view]

Vicious attack on peaceful protestors against Newmont in Ghana, 04/07/2006
[click to view]

Abuses common in Ghana gold mining - Report, 16/11/2010
[click to view]

Official Overview of its operations in Ahafo by Newmont
[click to view]

Angry youth clash with mining company, 07/06/2006
[click to view]

(3) Newmont Mining to build underground mine and expand Ahafo mill in Ghana, 20 April, 2017
[click to view]

Earhtworks, Ghana, Ajenjua Bepo Forest Reserve : Newmont
[click to view]

(1) Ghana Site visit, Newmont, March to April 2011
[click to view]

Newmont Ahafo Mine operations, so far so good, 23/11/2017
[click to view]

(4) Newmont reveals Ahafo underground mine, mill expansion plans to lift output 50%, 21/04/2017
[click to view]

Newmont to undertake underground mining, 30/09/2010
[click to view]

Women in Ghana Battle a U.S.-Owned Gold Mine for Land and Livelihood, Mining giant Newmont has been seizing farms and dumping cyanide into waterways, 14/12/2017
[click to view]

Newmont does not deserve excellence award -Kenyase residents, 25/02/2016
[click to view]

Fifteen killed in course of Newmont Ahafo Mine operations - Wacam, 08/11/2010
[click to view]

Newmont Mining Corporation's Ahafo Gold Mine Certified in Full Compliance Under International Cyanide Management Code, 17/07/2008
[click to view]

Newmont Ahafo turns over $1.03 billion in 2016, Ghana News Agency
[click to view]

Overview, Ahafo Mine, Newmont
[click to view]

(2) Newmont Ahafo mine operations, so far so good, November 23rd, 2017
[click to view]

Ahafo gold mine, Ghana, Newmont's return to Africa continues a long-term relationship , IFC
[click to view]

Newmont expands activities at Ahafo mine, 27/01/2010
[click to view]

Ghanaian Women Up Against U.S.-Owned Gold Mine that Destroyed Their Farms, 09/01/2018
[click to view]

Newmont Gold Mine to Pay Ghana Millions for Cyanide Spill, January 22, 2010
[click to view]

News Details, Newmont Adds Profitable Gold Production through Expansion of Ahafo in Ghana, 20/04/2017
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Report on accidents. General News of Monday, 8 November 2010. 15 killed in course of Newmont Ahafo Mine operations.
[click to view]

The Case of the Newmont Ahafo Goldmine in Ghana, April 2009
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:EnvJustice Team - Camila Rolando Mazzuca
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:3276
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Legal notice / Aviso legal
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