Business News of Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Source: B&FT

Mechanisms to monitor mining conflicts in place - Minerals Commission

The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Ben Aryee, has announced that the Commission has developed tracking mechanisms to monitor conflicts in mining communities of the country.

According to Mr. Aryee, the decision to get the mechanisms in place was based on the findings of a study commissioned by Government to establish Baseline Data on Social conflicts in Mining Communities in Ghana.

The study was undertaken as a result of the numerous conflicts in the mineral resource sector and the need to develop mitigation strategies to reduce them.

The findings of the study identified a number of causes of social conflicts in mining communities, case studies from 2000 to 2010, its impact on the communities and factions involved, and the conflict management/mitigation approach used.

Mr. Aryee noted that the extent to which Ghana succeeds in managing these social conflicts will determine how beneficial mining becomes.

He emphasised that "while government gives directions by putting in place the right policies and regulations, we all need to collaborate by actively participating in judicious management of our resources."

He said it is acknowledged that mining, like the exploitation of other natural resources, can play a pivotal role in the development efforts of countries which are endowed with such resources.

It is noted that mining can generate significant natural capital, economic rent, which if managed properly can support the development of human and other types of created capital.

This is the only way to ensure that the mineral resource, which will be exhausted by its exploitation and use, benefits not just today’s generation but also future generations.

There have been several complaints from mining communities in the recent past regarding inadequate compensation payments, perceived marginalisation of local labour in employment, displacement of population, and inappropriate application of mineral revenues returned to communities among a host of other mining-related concerns expressed across the country.

It is to address these concerns that Government has developed a range of regulations, including regulations for compensation and resettlement, to ensure prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to land owners or lawful occupiers.

Additional alternative livelihood programmes are said to be being implemented by government and mining companies in mine fringe-communities to provide job opportunities for those not employed by the mine.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission made these public in a joint stakeholder forum on managing mining conflicts organised by the Centre for African Elections Media Monitoring Index (CAEMMI) with support from the Canada Fund for Local Initiative (CFLI) and Centre for Media Analysis in Kumasi.

The forum was organised under the theme "Conflict Prevention and Peace Building in Mining Communities: An assessment of conflicts risks in extractive communities in Ghana”.

Participants were drawn from mining communities and the media, with resource persons from the Chamber of Mines and the Minerals Commission.

The forum was also to make public CAEMMI’s research findings which focused on drawing out the possible causes that trigger conflicts in the Ghanaian mining sector.