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Multi-Million Dollar Facility Goes Waste

dollorDunkwa Continental Goldfields Limited has plans of establishing a $46 million multi-purpose project but the inhabitants of Dunkwa-On-Offin in the Central Region would not allow management of the company to operate.

The project, which is expected to employ about 200,000 people, is lying idle because of serious threats on the lives the employees of the company. Currently, some of the firm’s assets are deteriorating and about 300 employees have already been sent home.

Dunkwa Continental Goldfields Limited is a limited liability company incorporated to take over the operations of the defunct Dunkwa Goldfields Limited after a project agreement was signed between the Ghana Government and Continental Construction and Mining Company Limited in 1995. The project agreement mandated the company to undertake activities such as precious, non-precious and industrial minerals, water and electrical power generation, agriculture, timber, and manufacturing of capital goods including processing plant.

“Our short-term plan is to combine precious and industrial minerals dredging and non-dredging operations to turn the project into a multi-layered one and also provide employment to the masses, but unfortunately, this could not be implemented due to the harsh resistance from the local communities,” Kris Kapoor, Resident-Director of the company, told CITY & BUSINESS GUIDE in an interview in Accra last Friday.

He said that his outfit after taking over the operations of the defunct Dunkwa Goldfields had conducted its activities in accordance with the terms of the project agreement, but had to stop its gold mining business along the way in order to venture into other business areas such as agro-processing because of the fallen prices of gold in the 1990s.

“The company has not folded up as speculated but we stopped mining gold because dredging operations had proved to be non-viable due to the poor market price of gold and high cost of operations in the1990s,” Mr. Kapoor reiterated. He however said efforts to resume gold mining activities in the area to provide employment had over the years proved futile due to constant demonstration and ruthless resistance from the local residents.

Recently, properties of the company worth millions of dollars was destroyed by some irritate youth of Dunkwa-On-Offin. According to reports, thugs with offensive weapons stormed the premises of the company, located at the Upper Denkyira East some few weeks ago to vandalize some of its assets.

“The demonstrators entered our premises that fateful day and destroyed our bungalows, stores, workshops and finally locked-up the premises with their own padlock to prevent us from entering and also threatened to kill me and my Project Engineer,” Mr. Kapoor emphasized. He added: “This is not the first time this situation is occurring. It started two years ago, and as I speak now, nine persons are occupying our bungalows illegally. They have also turned our main office building into a nurses quarters and will not allow us to enter our own premises.”

“In 2004, the company in collaboration with the Ministry of Agric developed a high caliber model facility in Agro/Food processing and capital goods manufacturing atits project site at Dunkwa, but a night before the commissioning of the facilities, some inhabitants of the area smeared human feces on the entrances of the facilities,” he added.

He recalled that the Chairman of the of Dunkwa Continental Goldfields Limited was in Ghana earlier to meet and the former President, John Agyekum Kufuor about the situation but could not get audience as there was no reply to his letter. The aforementioned development, Mr. Kapoor stressed, was as a result of a letter written by the former Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines, Professor Dominic Fobih, on November 7, 2005, that his Ministry had terminated the project agreement signed between the Ghana Government and Continental Construction and Mining Company Limited in 1995.

Mr. Kapoor revealed that the step taken by the Ministry was illegal and without due process. “The project agreement contains an arbitration clause which obliges the parties to refer any dispute arising from the agreement to the international arbitration under the rules and regulations of the International Chamber of Commerce,” he noted.

“The project agreement had no expiry date and enjoys all privileges and benefits under the old and new Minerals and Mining Laws,” Mr. Kapoor noted, stressing that the Ministry could not take a unilateral action to terminate the agreement without recourse to arbitration. He has therefore appeal to the government to help the company revive its operations.


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