Ghana government asked not to ignore concerns of mining communities

Mining1The government has been asked to actively involve people in mining operation communities in the formulation of policies to regulate the industry.

Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director, Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), said this was the way forward to protect their economic, social and environmental rights.

The situation, where financial benefit, was placed ahead of any other consideration, should not continue.

She was addressing the fifth conference of WACAM’s community groups held in Kumasi under the theme “Community-based advocacy: the key to the protection of citizens’ rights”.

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng said it was important to empower the people to get the multinational mining companies to do the right things.

Public policy discourse needed to provide adequate space for the majority poor whose interest, “we are made to believe, these national policies are meant to serve”, she added.

She underlined the need to properly educate the communities on their rights, and said that was important to prevent any infractions.

She noted that Ghana could not achieve sustainable development in favour of the poor when public policy excluded and made them passive recipients of dole outs from the political elite.

“An empowered group of people through rights education would be able to protect their rights against multinational companies and that is why WACAM has spent over two decades in the empowerment of mining communities.”

Mr. John Alexander Ackon, the Ashanti Regional Minister, said the importance of the mining industry to Ghana’s economy could not be downplayed – providing employment and contributing immensely to revenue mobilization.   

He therefore asked that all stakeholders worked together to sustain the industry.   

He was, however, emphatic that the health and safety of the people and the environment must never be compromised.

The Regional Minister applauded WACAM for the vital role it was playing to promote responsible mining.

Dr. Yaw Baah, Secretary General of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), decried the extensive damage of the environment through mining and pledged total support for the campaign by WACAM to improve the quality of life of people in the mining companies.

Source: GNA

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