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Ghana to investigate activities of mining firms over human rights abuses

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A four-member Committee was on Thursday inaugurated and charged to investigate activities of small, medium and large scale mining companies in specific communities.

This follows a 2009 report submitted by the Commission on Human Rights and Administration Justice (CHRAJJ) to the Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MEST).

The report detailed human rights abuses perpetrated by some mining companies in various communities.

Ms Sherry Ayittey, Minister of Environment, Science and Technology, who inaugurated the Committee at a short ceremony in Accra, said the members had been given a four-month ultimatum to submit their report.

The committee is to investigate the negative impact of activities of the miners on land, water bodies, properties and lives.

It is also to examine existing contracts and to look into Corporate Social Responsibilities of the mining companies operating in the communities.

The Committee had also been charged to investigate written agreements between the corporate bodies and the communities, payment of royalties and to ascertain who the recipients of the royalties were.

Professor Chris Gordon, Chairman of the Committee, pledged commitment towards executing their mandate. Prof. Gordon is the Director of the Institute for Environment at the University of Ghana, Legon.

He gave the assurance that the Committee would report to MEST within the stipulated period so that appropriate steps could be taken.

The rest of the members were Mr Charles Afeku, Senior Legal Officer at the Minerals Commission, Mr Ransford Sakyi, Director of Mining at the Environmental Protection Agency and Mr Ahmed Nantogmah, Director, Corporate Affairs, Ghana Chamber of Mines.

Source: GNA

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