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Regional News of Thursday, 15 July 2021

Source: 3news.com

Nzema youth kick against community mining scheme, demand 1D1F rather

The Nzema Youth Association The Nzema Youth Association

The Nzema Youth Association is asking government to halt any plan of embarking on a Community Mining Scheme at Kwabre in the Jomoro Municipal Assembly of the Western Region.

According to the Association, undeniable evidence from mining communities across the country shows that mining – whether legal or illegal – leads to wanton destruction of the environment and abject poverty.

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources on Monday, July 5 inaugurated two Community Mining Schemes at Mmampehia in the Ahanta West Municipality and Kwabre in the Jomoro Municipality to among others, create employment.

“…the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources inaugurated a new community mining site in Kwawblay village, (aka Kwabre), near Nuba in Jomoro (Nzema West) district, under the guise of providing jobs for us. …under different circumstances, this would have been something to celebrate. However, we are not celebrating.”

The Nzema Youth Association believes that the venture will leave the community worse off if it is allowed.

“Here in Western Nzema, otherwise known as Jomoro, not only is Kwabre and its environs the breadbasket of our people, it is also a critical watershed area, and any mining there would pose a major threat of flooding to all the central parts of our community. We the people of Nzema are worried, and rightfully so, especially given the devastation that mining in Ghana (community and or legal and illegal alike) has caused to many rivers and communities in Ghana.”

The group is, therefore, not convinced that the Kwabre project will lead to prosperity as being touted.

Vice President of the Association Michael Adebah observes that evidence abounds to show that mining – whether legal or illegal – creates wanton environmental destruction and in the end leaves host communities in abject poverty.

“We can point to the untold devastation in Nkroful, Anwia, Telekubokazo, Akango in Ellembelle and Evalue Dwira, all districts in Nzema, as well as the destruction of the Juen Lagoon, rivers Tano, Ankobra and Subile, also in Nzema. Our people who rely on these waterbodies have been rendered destitute. We can already see signs of the impact of the mercury contamination in these mining sites on our land and our people. Our sources of drinking water have been contaminated. In fact, in Telekubokazo we lost a vibrant sixteen-year-old when she drowned in a gully just this year. We are told that Kwabre mine will be mercury free. Granted. What about the gullies, the watershed that will be destroyed? What happens when it rains, and our community gets flooded? What about our food source? We do not need another mine and more destruction,” he cited.

Michael Adebah wants government to rather focus its energy on solving the significant environmental problems that have been caused by mining.

He also prefers that the area is used for either a 1D1F project or a Planting for Food and Jobs scheme.

“What we need are model farms, our share of the 1 District 1 Factory. We need our skillful Nzema artisans employed to build local infrastructure, to build schools to replace schools under trees, employed to patrol the river bodies, to reclaim the destroyed lands in our community. We need cottage industries to process our cassava, our coconut, our fish, among others. We need tourism developed in Nzema. Not another destructive mine. We, the people of Nzema, join all well-meaning Ghanaians to reiterate the need to put a hold on all small-scale surface/alluvial mining in our communities.”

He, therefore, called on “President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, his Government, Hon Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, his deputy George Mireku Duker, Hon Kobby Okyere Darko, Minister, Western Region, MCEs of Ahanta West and Jomoro and Awulae Annor Adjaye III of Jomoro to HALT any plans for Community mining in Mmampehia and Kwabre with immediate effect.”