Baba Yara Stadium is now ready for CAN 2008.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Anglogold initiates fish farming project at Homase

Anglogold Ashanti (Obuasi Mine) Limited has commenced a US$550,000 aquaculture project for the people of Adubrem, Hemang, Krodua and Homase in the Amansie Central District of Ashanti.

The project forms part of a sustainable livelihood support programme being instituted by Anglogold in the area, which is located about 20kilometres north of Obuasi.

It is expected to offer employment to the communities as well as serve as a training ground for those interested in modern aquaculture.

The company is using a disused mined out pit at its Homase concession to undertake the project which would comprise fish farming integrated with livestock rearing, a year round vegetable farming and ecotourism.

The Minister of Fisheries, Mrs Gladys Asmah, the Deputy Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, Mr Andrew Adjei Yeboah and the Deputy Minister of Ashanti, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi jointly performed a sod-cutting ceremony on Friday at the area for the commencement of the project.

Also at the ceremony was the Omanhene of the Bekwai Traditional Area, Nana Kakari Apau.

The Homase mined out pit was a two-pit surface gold mining operation which was commenced by Anglogold in June 2002 and came to a close in December 2003 because of the depletion of the delineated economically accessible ores and failure of the eastern wall of the northern portion of the pit.

A decommissioning plan was prepared according to the Environmental Assessment Regulations but during consultations with the host communities and other stakeholders, it was agreed that the pit should be used as a fishpond instead of it being backfilled so as to enable it form part of a sustainable livelihood programme in the area.

This is because, a similar project undertaken at Manso Nkran in the Amansie West District of Ashanti where disused mined out pits of Resolute Amansie Limited (RAL) have been turned into fish ponds was serving the community very well as a sustainable livelihood programme.

The Homase project design emphasises the use of technological innovations and scientific knowledge in modern aquaculture practices.

Mrs Gladys Asmah commended Anglogold for commencing the project saying it gave credence that degraded lands could be put to good use.

Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, the Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister said the project when properly managed would help put money directly into the pockets of the local people.

He said a mine was like a human being, which has a definite lifespan and would die at one point or another. Therefore it was important during the active life of the mine, policies are evolved to leave the mining area a better place that it was before the mine so as to enable the people to remember the mine with nostalgia.

The Minister said he was touched by the sophisticated nature of the technology used, that allowed fish to be bred in cages and which makes harvesting an easier and exciting enterprise.

He expressed government’s appreciation for the effort of AGA towards the socio-economic development of the nation and urged the community leaders to support the project.

The Regional Minister said there are various accusations against Anglogold including pollution of water bodies, damaging people’s houses without the payment of requisite compensation and causing other environmental havocs.

He said whereas he agreed that some of the accusations may be misplaced, in the majority of the cases the accusations have some substance and are worthy of consideration and said the problem was traceable to the lack of consultation and the absence of consensus building among the mine and its stakeholders.

KMA to demolish unauthorised buildings at Breman Abusuakuruwa

The Kumasi Metropolitan Assembly (KMA) is to pull down some houses at Breman Abusuakuruwa, a Kumasi suburb, since the buildings have been constructed on a waterway at a natural reserve area.

The situation of the buildings, which have no building permits has been resulting in perennial flooding in the area since they are blocking the free flow of water and thus destroying properties worth millions of cedis.

It is unclear the exact number of buildings to be pulled down but Ms Patricia Appiagyei, the Metropolitan Chief Executive explained that the situation cannot be allowed to go on and since the buildings have no permits, they ought to be pulled down.

This came to light when a delegation from the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council led by the Regional Minister, Mr E. A. Owusu Ansah visited the area last week.

Other members of the delegation included the Deputy Regional Minister, Mr Osei Assibey Antwi, the KMA Chief Executive and officials from the KMA and the Regional Coordinating Council.

Prior to the visit, the entire residents, including those with buildings without permits had petitioned the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council for assistance for a lasting solution to a perennial flooding problem at the Breman Abusuakuruwa area.

The residents had suggested a possible desilting of the River Acheamponmene, which runs through the area and had also blamed the construction of a bridge on the Kumasi-Offinso road for contributing to the flooding.

Ironically the residents, especially those with no building permits who gets mainly hit by the perennial flooding had claimed that the construction of the bridge was allowing more water to flow from the other side of the road (Breman Asuogya) to their side resulting in more flooding and therefore suggested the desilting of the River to allow the water to flow well without flooding the area.

It was revealed during the delegation’s visit that the area close to the Acheamponmene river was a natural reserve but it was detected that buildings have sprang up along the whole area thus blocking the free flow of the river.

It came to light that there are about three tributaries of the river, which meet at the area and that none of the buildings on the water way had building permits thus, the existence of those buildings was rather resulting in the flooding, which most of the time extended to areas where buildings are legally situated.

It was also detected that the area is a low lying ground and that not even the desilting of the River Acheamponmene could help stop the flooding and that the only solution was to demolish the buildings on the waterway so as to allow the free flow of the water in order to also save legal residents from getting their properties destroyed by floods.

Mr Kwabena Owusu Aduomi, the Regional Highways Director explained that the bridge in contention initially had small culvert so anytime it rained, the water used to overtop the road, hence his outfit decided to install more and bigger culverts in order to prevent forestall the overtopping of the road by the water.

He said it was based on that instance that the residents complained that the new bridge would allow more water to flow to their side of the road and thus more flooding and subsequently followed it up with a petition to the Regional Coordinating Council for assistance.

He said his outfit realised that the area was a low lying place and that nothing could be done to avert flooding unless those buildings water way were removed.

Ms Patricia Appiagyei said it was ironic for residents who have no building permits and whose actions are a direct result of the flooding problem would turn around wanting assistance to help avert the flooding in the area.

She said once the buildings are in a natural reserve, the occupants ought to vacate the area and that desilting the river would not the answer.

She said she suspected most of the residents are squatters and that they should move out of the area before floods spoil their property and blamed the Assembly member for the area for negligence and said the Assemblyman should have been on the look out and drawn the KMA’s attention to the anomally.