COMMUNITIES affected by mining have been urged to make inputs to enrich the Minerals and Mining ACT ( ACT 703 of 2006) and the 1992 Republican Constitution which are currently under review for the enhancement of their rights and welfare .
Mr Richard Adjei- Poku, the Executive Director of Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG), a local non-governmental organisation (NGO) based at Kenyasi in the Brong Ahafo Region, who made the call, said the affected communities’ input would enhance their well-being and address the weaknesses in the existing Minerals and Mining Law.
Speaking at a-day’s community capacity building and sensitisation workshop for opinion leaders in the various mining communities in the district, Mr Adjei-Poku said the existing mineral and mining law had ceded so many privileges to expatriates at the expense of the local people and the nation at large, hence the review of the law.
The workshop, which formed part of the Local Authority Capacity Enhancement Project under the acronym LACEP, is a three-year pilot project designed and being implemented by Integrated Social Development Centre (ISODEC) in partnership with the Asutifi District Assembly, traditional authorities, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL) and civil society organisations (CSOs) with LEG as the lead organiser of CSOs, is being funded by the Revenue Watch Institute (RWI).
It is to sensitise opinion leaders in the various mining communities in the Asutifi District on the impact of mining on the economy, the environment and the social life of the people and how to effectively monitor the utilisation of mining revenue at the local level.
Touching on the broader theme for the workshop: “The economic, social and environmental impact of mining, its revenue generation and utilisation,” Mr Adjei-Poku said the project also sought to build the capacity of the people at the local level.
That, he said, was to ensure the judicious use of mining revenue to reduce poverty in the mining communities and to promote national development.
Mr Adjei-Poku stated that because the extractive resources were finite, non-renewable and the damage caused was so huge and long lasting, there was the need for opinion leaders to ensure that dividends from such undertakings were utilised responsibly, transparently and to the benefit of all, especially those who were directly affected by it, as well as future generations.
“We must keep an eye on the money being reported on, we must follow it to the various destinations as they are disbursed, we should scrutinise how they are applied to reduce poverty and to promote development,” he told the participants.
Mr Adjei-Poku urged opinion leaders to partner with the traditional authorities, mining companies, the district assembly and CSOs to safeguard the values of fairness, equity and sustainable use of the environment on which their lives and those of posterity depended.
Touching on the activities of LEG, Mr Adjei-Poku said the organisation currently operated in 35 communities with 23 of them in the Asutifi and Tano North Districts in the Brong Ahafo Region and 12 in the Birim North District in the Eastern Region.
He said LEG had as its main goal to advocate the protection of the environment, community interest and livelihood of men and women.
Mr. Adjei-Poku said the livelihood of the rural people depended on the environment and for that matter, LEG with support from Global Greengrants Fund and Third World Network-Africa (TWN-Africa), had embarked on a four-acre restoration projects around the banks of Rivers Tano and Akantansu in Ntotroso and Kenyasi, respectively, both in the Asutifi District since last year with the aim of conserving the ecology of the two rivers.