NGGL has developed a Public Consultation and Disclosure Plan (‘PCDP’) which addresses all issues that might arise out of the Ahafo project (‘the Project’). The PCDP includes a complaints procedure through which to address impact on the communities caused by mining-related activities. It aims to engage with local communities in order to ensure interactions are relevant, conflicts are resolved quickly and to the mutual benefit of both parties. The project has also established a grievance mechanism, which is dedicated to resettlement and compensation issues.
Who can access it?
Any and all stakeholders – people, agencies, organizations, communities that could be directly or indirectly affected (positively or negatively) by the Project, can access both the complaints procedure and the grievance mechanism. While the complaints procedure is available to all types of complaints, the grievance mechanism is reserved for resettlement and compensation issues.
How does it work?
Complaints can be raised orally during a formal or informal stakeholder consultation. Complaints can also be submitted by filling out a Complaint Register Form available at the NGGL Kenyase Camp Office to the External Affairs Administrator. The External Affairs Administrator will enter the complaint into the Complaints Database. The community outreach workers are skilled in conflict resolution techniques and are fluent in both Twi and English. The staff routinely seeks advice and, where appropriate, intervention of traditional authorities to assist in resolving disputes.
Where it is required that answers to complaints are provided in writing, the Administrator issues a written letter to that effect. Where it becomes necessary to invite the complainant to the office for face-to-face meeting, a letter or verbal invitation is also issued and/or hand delivered to the complainant. All complaints are referred to the on-site External Affairs Department, which is responsible for ensuring complainants are provided an explanation of the complaint process and an estimate of when to expect a response. Comments or requests for help are not considered complaints. Responses to complaints must be initiated within four weeks of being received.
The public may express concerns and issues at the Project Office in Kenyase and/or to Resettlement Team and other workers during normal daily activities. Informal grievances are treated as complaints and are resolved according to the Complaint Process described above; grievances are more serious as they involve resettlement and compensation issues that could result in legal action. NGGL established a formal grievance mechanisms to address actual, measurable concerns relating to the resettlement and compensation process which is described as follows:
First Order Mechanism: First order mechanism is a face-to-face discussion with appropriate personnel. Most grievances are heard and resolved in the presence of family members or other witnesses. Agreement is normally reached without the complainant continuing into another forum. Except in complex cases where additional investigation or involvement of third parties is required NGGL responds to written grievances within thirty days. Responses generally include a settlement proposal. Grievances of a legal nature are forwarded to NGGL’s Legal Department in Accra for redress. Responses/settlements are coordinated through the on-site management team.
Second Order Mechanism: The Resettlement Negotiation Committee will convene on a regular basis and will provide a forum at which individual and community grievances can be raised, discussed and resolved with Company officials.
Court Action: If the grievance is still unresolved, the claimant can proceed to initiate a claim in court.
Ghanaian citizens and legal entities have the right to access to court with regards to any disputed matter relating to compensation. Any judicial award issued by a court in Ghana against NGGL, settling a dispute between the company and the person, is considered overpowering the claim made through the complaints of grievance mechanism.
Outcomes may include a settlement proposal, consultations, mediation agreement, compensation, and resettlement.