Ghana’s Minerals Commission has developed tracking mechanisms to monitor conflict triggers in mining communities, a top official said here on Monday.
The Chief Executive of the Commission, Ben Aryee, said this in a statement to participants at a day’s joint stakeholder forum on “Mining Conflicts” in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest city, 270 km north of the capital.
Aryee said the tracking mechanisms were developed after a government’s study in 2010 to “Establish Baseline Data on Social Conflicts in Mining Communities in Ghana” to inform government on the trends of conflicts as well as assess strategies being implemented to deal with the problem in the mining communities.
Competing claims over land use constitutes one of the major triggers of conflict in most mining areas in Ghana, the second largest gold producer in Africa, with local communities often complaining about inadequate compensation paid to them by mining companies.
The communities also complain of being marginalization by the mining companies in the engagement of persons recruited to work in the mines and the destruction of their farmlands, resulting in the disruption of their livelihoods.
To deal with this situation, Aryee said government had developed a range of regulations for resettlement and prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to land owners or lawful occupiers.
Additionally, alternative livelihood initiatives are also being implemented in most affected communities by the mining companies.
In Ghana, minerals are vested in the president of the republic who holds them in trust for the people. Therefore, as soon as minerals are discovered in a piece of land, the owner is paid some compensation described by many as too meager.
The forum, which was organized by the Center for Africa Elections Media Monitoring Index (CAEMMI), in conjunction with the Canadian Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI), also sought to validate research findings found out by CAEMMI in mining communities in the country.
The Executive Director of CAEMI, Mensah Mawugbe, said the research findings of the organization pointed to serious conflict triggers linked to illegal mining in the northern part of Ghana.
He said the potential conflicts in these areas were partly due to the invasion of foreigners from neighboring African countries of Senegal, Burkina-Faso and Guinea.
He therefore called on community representatives at the forum to play their part in coming out with the relevant measures to mitigate possible conflicts in these communities.
A traditional ruler from Obuasi, Ghana’s foremost gold mining community, Reverend (Dr) Nana Owusu Akyaw Brempong, expressed grave concern about the pollution of water bodies, the main source of potable for the communities by the mining companies.
He called for the removal of Stability Agreements the government had entered into with some mining companies to cede more royalties toward the development of the mining communities. Endi