Amend portions of Minerals and Mining Act 703 to enhance livelihoods of mining communities – Researcher

Portions of the Minerals and Mining Act, 206 (Act 703) must be amended to make provisions for meaningful consultations with mining communities for the assessment and determination of compensations, Dr Abdulai Darimani, a researcher has advocated.

He said the Act 703, therefore, needed urgent amendment to further provide opinions for what he described as the “apparent inconsistency between the 1992 constitution and the Act 703” in the supreme interest of mining companies and their affected communities.

This would not only improve the socio-economic livelihoods of people living in mining communities, but further create and deepen cordial relationships between mining companies and their host communities, the researcher said.

Dr Darimani, who is a lecturer at the Department of Environmental Management of the University of Energy and Natural Resources made the call during a validation workshop on ‘Compensation and Resettlement’ in Sunyani.

The Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG) and Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Africa), non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with support from the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs engaged Dr. Darimani to conduct the study on compensation and resettlement within the Ahafo South Mine of the Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL).

It forms part of the Netherlands government funded project, “Power of Voices Project”, being implemented by the two environmentally inclined-NGOs which among other objectives seek to ensure equality, space and level playing field for effective and efficient decision-making processes at all levels.

The workshop was attended by traditional leaders, civil society actors, youth and women groups, and farmers around the Newmont Ahafo South Mines at Kenyasi in the Asutifi North District of the Ahafo Region.

Highlighting findings of the study, Dr. Darimani indicated that issues relating to declaration of moratorium on mining concessions and time limit for negotiations and payment of crop and land compensation ought to be legalised.

Capacity building and training are also needed to address low levels of influence on the part of communities and inadequate understanding of compensation and issues relating to resettlement, he added.

Dr Darimani said a national consultation was also recommended to address the concerns of mineral right holders and the communities on speculative activities.

“Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies should study and replicate the community water management module in the OLA Resettlement Camp at Kenyasi”.

“In addition to the initial support for the preparation of land, persons displaced from their lands should be compensated for the equal amount of land they have lost to the mine (land for land)”, he stated.

Dr Darimani underscored the importance for the Minerals Commission to lead the development of indicators for economic well-being and social and cultural value to guide resettlement in mining communities.

Putting in place these and other social and economic realistic interventions would greatly create a cordial relationship between mining companies and local communities and thereby, end unnecessary agitations in local communities that turned to disturb societal peace and social cohesion, he added.

Earlier in a welcoming address, Mr Richard Adjei-Poku, the Executive Director, LEG, noted the country was endowed with numerous natural resources and materials, saying “in fact Ghana is the leading producer of Gold in Africa and eighth in the world”.

He, however, regretted roads in most mining communities in the country remained in deplorable condition, while “women and children struggle before getting one square meal, with unemployment rates in mining communities at the pointed top of a mountain”.

Mr Adjei-Poku indicated economic hardships within the Newmont Ahafo South Mine area had contributed to widespread commercial sex work among young people, thefts and robbery at Kenyasi and its adjoining communities.

“In fact, resettlement communities around the Mine are living without social amenities like hospitals, recreational grounds, toilet facilities, schools, roads and even water.” he said.

He said it was against this background that the study was conducted, saying “LEG and TWN-Africa are determined to use the research findings as an advocacy tool and modelling to champion for communities rights in Ahafo and beyond”.

Source: GNA

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