Ghana: Govt Asked to Stop Giving New Mining Concessions

Ghana: Govt Asked to Stop Giving New Mining Concessions

MINING COMMUNITIES in Ghana have called on the government to stop giving out new concessions to multi-national mining companies for surface mining until the “mess” caused by the existing ones were cleared off.

They indicated that the untold hardships which were the resultant effects of the activities of the mining companies were so enormous and appalling that there was no need extending such traumatic conditions to other communities in the country.

The representatives of the mining communities including Chiefs and Assembly Members made the call at a two-day workshop on “Mining Investment and Community Livelihoods” organized by Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) at Tarkwa.

The affected communities, which were mainly farming communities, mentioned intimidation, loss of livelihoods due to loss of farmlands to mining companies, constant pollution of source of drinking water and destruction of forests which besides stabilizing the micro-climate that supported agricultural activities, offered so many benefits by the biodiversities as some of the immeasurable costs of mining.

The participants urged right based advocacy organizations, particularly WACAM, to break new grounds where proposed industrial mining has not taken off yet and educate such communities on their rights, indicating that this would empower them to resist irresponsible mining in their respective areas and the country as a whole.

The mostly interactive workshop afforded the participants the opportunity to actualize themselves, assess benefits and cost of mining investment and sustainable livelihood of mining communities, shared experiences as well as how to use the right based approach to champion their cause.

Opening the workshop, the Director of Research and Training of WACAM, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng noted that it was very essential for mining communities to assess the implications of mining investment on their livelihoods and how that investment blended with sustainable development principles which include equity, the environment and futility.

She questioned the basis of the development concepts being championed by multilateral agencies like the IMF and World Bank and called on developing countries like Ghana to define what constitutes development to them.

She entreated the participants to always use lawful means when fighting for their rights and urged them to be ambassadors against irresponsible mining and human rights abuses in their communities.

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng stressed the need to know who they were, their rights as enshrined in the Constitution and other laws of the land and the appropriate place to seek help whenever necessary.

Copyright © 2006 Ghanaian Chronicle. All rights reserved.

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