Mining operations impoverish mining communities – students
Thirty-five graduating students of the Ghana Institute of Journalism who paid a fact-finding tour of the gold mining town of Obuasi have concluded that mining communities are being impoverished by the operations of the mining companies.
The visit, they said, was to offer them the opportunity to know what was happening in the mining sector especially in relation to the impact on the mining communities.
Most often reports of mining are tilted to the advantage of the companies with little attention to the plight of the communities.
They visited Anwiam, Ahansoyewodea, and held discussions with the leadership of the Obuasi Municipal Assembly (OMA) and AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) Obuasi mine.
The leader of the students, Mr. Eric Adjei, said “the mining companies are not doing much to improve the standard of living in the mining communities giving the amount of money they declare as dividends to the state.”
He said gold was contributing immensely to the economy of the country but unfortunately the gains had come at great cost to the host communities.
Mr. Adjei said there had been reported cases of human rights abuses, inadequate compensation payments, environmental degradation and displacements “and all these impact negatively on the lives of the communities”.
“Whether the companies make profits or loses, they should still consider the mining communities in their social responsibility commitments”, he said.
Mr. Adjei commended Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) for sponsoring the trip which gave the students the opportunity to have insight into mining activities and their impact on mining communities.
Mr. John Alexander Ackon, the Obuasi Municipal Chief Executive, told the students that Anglo Gold Ashanti was paying 400,000 Ghana Cedis a year as property rate to the assembly but previously, the assembly was not getting property rate commensurate with the company’s properties.
He said there was better relations between the assembly and the AGA and called for collaboration between them in respect of development projects coming from the company to the communities.
Mr. Ackon added “the existence of the mine should have positive impact on the social status of the people”.