Help Protect Community Rights in Ghana

  • by: Oxfam America
  • target: Tom Mair, CEO of Golden Star Resources

The communities adjacent the Prestea Mine in Southwest Ghana have suffered for years. As a result of its operations, the mine endangers their livelihood and quality of life. This threat includes two cyanide spills.

The mine's owners, Golden Star Resources, now plan to expand the Prestea Mine. This expansion involves leveling low-income housing and schools, and it's being done without adequate consideration of the community concerns.

The people of Prestea, Himan, and Dumase have a right to decide whether a mine can expand in their community. Their lives and livelihood depend on exercising that right, and you can help them. Tell Golden Star Resources to listen to the people whose lives they're affecting.

Dear [CEO],

We are writing to express our deep concern for the communities of Prestea, Himan, and Dumase that neighbor the Bogoso/Prestea Mine in the Wassa West district of Ghana. Since 2001, these communities have endured threats to their lives and livelihoods related to the Bogoso/Prestea Mine. We urge you to fulfill their request for a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of the first phase of the Bogoso/Prestea Project and for the right of free, prior, and informed consent regarding the planned Prestea South Project.

As you are aware, the relationship between Golden Star Resources and the communities of Prestea, Himan, and Dumase has been strained. Despite cyanide spills that contaminated local rivers and streams in 2004 and 2006, Golden Star Resources has yet to commission the independent health investigation requested by members of these communities. On June 13, 2005, seven people were shot by security personnel guarding one of the North Plant Mine's pits during a demonstration in Prestea. Still, no independent investigation of this incident has taken place.
The time to address the concerns of the communities of Prestea, Himan, and Dumase has come. We hope you will use your recent appointment as president and CEO of Golden Star Resources as an occasion to change the nature of your company's relationship with your neighbors.

Fulfilling the communities' request for a comprehensive evaluation of the impact of the first phase of the Bogoso/Prestea Project and for the right of free, prior, and informed consent regarding the planned Prestea South Project would be a significant indication of your company's desire to begin a new phase in your relationship with the surrounding communities.

Thank you for your time and consideration.
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