A day’s workshop has been held in Obuasi to sensitize stakeholders in mining communities on the new approaches to address their grievances and strengthen their relationship with mining companies operating in their communities.
Robert Ali Tanti, the Executive Director of the Center for Social Impact Studies ( CESIS), a research and advocacy NGO, organisers of the event, said the Center through the Mine Site Assessment Tool has sensitized inhabitants of mining communities on the best approaches to address issues bothering on the operations of mining communities in their communities.
He said after visiting five mining communities and getting first-hand information on their plight, the Center adopted the Mine Site Assessment Tool ( MSAT) designed by their partners, Responsibile Mining Foundation, as guidelines to train community members in mining areas on how to address their grievances
He said the MSAT was designed to be used as entry points for constructive company-community dialogue with a view of seeking solution of issues of direct importance to local people.
He mentioned that the tool covers 15 thematic areas which address economic, social, environmental and governance issues.
Mr. Tanti said the MSAT has proved to be effective in creating a non confrontational space for community members and mine site managers to discuss specific issues of importance to lives and livelihoods of affected communities.
Again, he revealed that after touring Adansi Kenya (Adansi South District), Manso Aponapono (Amansie South), Tongo (Talensi Nabdam) and Osino (Fanteakwa District), CESIS empowered them through MSAT which necessitated the people of Manso Aponapono to petition the Mineral Commission on issues of compensations.
The Regional office of the Mineral Commission has intervened and encouraged the mining company to properly compensate them.
He also mentioned that currently a constructive dialogue has begun between the people of Ayanfuri and a mining company operating there, on issues of local content and training of community members.
Going forward, the Executive Director of CESIS Ghana said: “We will embark on similar exercise in areas like Ada, Nsuta and Awaso which are into the mining of salt, Manganese and Bauxite respectively.”
The Obuasi Area Manager of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Adarkwa Yiadom, lifted the lid on the current re-tooling exercise designed to empower the Agency to effectively undertake their mandate.
He said the Agency has now recruited 300 additional staff to augment the existing workforce.
Coupled with plans by the Agency to open additional regional offices in Bekwai, Manso Nkwanta, Ejisu, Tepa, Nkawie and Mampong, Mr. Adarkwa said they will make them accessible to the people.
Again he talked about moves by the Agency to procure more drones to boost their operations.
He revealed “between 25th to 29th October, Staff of the Obuasi office will undergo training in the use of drones to monitor mining activities in their operational area”.
He called on those who are interested in doing community mining to contact the lawful agencies mandated to issue permits to extractive companies.
He said such people should contact the Mineral Commission for their Mineral License, EPA for their Environmental permit and the Mines Inspectorate Unit for Digging permit.
Ofosuware Shadrack, the Assembly member for Ofoase Nkatiase Electoral Area-Osino shared his key take-away from the meeting.
Himself a Mines Committee Chairman in the Fanteakwa District Assembly, Mr. Ofosuware said lessons learnt from the workshop has helped him to restrategise on the appropriate channel to address mining related issues in the district.
“Hitherto, we were a bit confrontational. After picking key lessons from the MSAT, I will teach my people on a right way to address the myriad of issues we have,” he said.