Chief calls for review of mining law

Nana Ntebo Pra IV, Divisional Chief of Himan-Prestea, has called for the review of the mining law to enhance its contribution to the country’s economy and the needs of mining communities.

He said the current mining law had given more power to the mining companies and expatriates to the extent that citizens hosting the mining firms continue to suffer human rights abuses and environmental pollution.

“We must take a second look at our mining law vis-à-vis the benefits and gains to the communities.”

“On balance, I believe the mining communities have lost out on the benefits,” Nana Pra IV said at a forum organised by the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM), a network of organisations, communities, and individuals concerned about mining and environmental preservation.

The forum the fourth in the series of national campaigns by NCOM provides a platform for mining communities to speak on the impact and implications of mining on their livelihoods, environment and the national economy.

It also provides the opportunity for dialogue between citizens and state officials to explore the best ways in which mining should be conducted.

Nana Pra IV said while the mining companies reaped the gains of the mineral resources, the mining communities wallow in poverty and deprivation.

He called for concerted efforts in the fight for reforms to safeguard the livelihoods of communities and ensure that mining brings more benefits to them and the country.

Mr Kwesi Blay, Member of Parliament for Prestea, said the communities should not be seen as anti-mining but rather as ones fighting to ensure that the current mining regime is changed to ensure healthy contribution to the national economy.

“It is the communities that bear the brunt of the mining activities but have nothing to show for it,” he said.

Mr Dominic Nyame of the Concerns Citizens Association of Prestea, said the surrounding communities including, Dumase, Himan and Twigyaa have been experiencing the negative effects of surface mining including rights abuses, loss of livelihoods and destruction of rivers.

“Since large scale open mines started in these areas, things have never been the same. Our people have been shot, brutalised and harmed anytime we make attempts to mobilise to protest against the inhuman treatment being meted out to us,” he said.

Mr Nyame expressed the hope that the forum would continue to inspire confidence, increase the solidarity and determination of stakeholders to work together.

In a statement at the forum NCOM called on the government to reform existing mining and environment policies and practices in order to optimise the benefits of mining and protect communities and the environment from violence and impunity perpetrated by transnational mining companies as well as state institutions.

It also called on the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources to develop a comprehensive national mineral resources policy to provide a long-term vision and principles for evolving regulations and legislations.

“We believe that the interest of Ghana will be very well served if the law is reviewed to expunge the provisions on stability and development agreements, introduce taxes on windfall and capital gain as well as grievance resolution mechanism, widen the range for royalty tax from 3-6 per cent to 5-15 per cent and ring fence state equity participation to prevent it from eroding,” NCOM said.

Other demands include the development and publication of regulations on compensation and guidelines for resettlement and relocation as well as review of environmental impact assessment procedure to make it more participatory and accountable.

Mr Abdulai Daramani, a Programme Officer of Environment Unit of Third World Network-Africa, a Civil Society Organisation, said NCOM, was established in 2001 in response to growing threat of mining to community livelihood, environmental sustainability, social harmony and national development.

The national campaign forum was thus created and institutionalised in 2006 as a platform for promoting community voice, sharing experiences, and analysis of mining engendered developmental challenges in order to inform public policy choices as well as state and corporate practice towards communities and citizens at large.

The forum was held on the theme: “Ten Years of Collective Advocacy: Mobilising for Reforms.”

Source: GNA

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.