Mining affected communities sensitised on rights, compensations and resettlement

As part of efforts to make exploration of mineral resources beneficial to mining communities, stakeholders in such communities have been sensitised on their rights as citizens. The exercise, which was held in seven regions. including Ashanti, Eastern, Western, Western North, Central, Bono, and Ahafo Regions, also exposed participants to Ghana's mining laws and reforms on compensation and resettlement. Ghana is endowed with numerous mineral resources and the largest producer of gold in sub-Saharan Africa. In 2023, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited alone paid GHC 823.72 million in taxes, royalties, and levies to the Government of Ghana through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA). However, excessive exploration of mineral resources has not impacted the lives of persons living in mining affected communities, with the sector also being one of the highest human rights violators. To address these human right violations and ensure sustainable livelihoods for people living in such communities, the Livelihood and Environm ent Ghana (LEG) in partnership with Third World Network-Ghana, has been building the capacity of stakeholders in the seven regions. The capacity building training formed part of the 'Power of Voices in Fair for All Project' with funding from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It targeted youth and women groups, traditional rulers, Assembly and Unit Committee members, civil society organisations, farmers, religious leaders, mine workers and the media. Also in attendance were representatives from the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE), Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ), Ghana Health Service (GHS), Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), Department of Social Welfare as well as Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs). The training also built the capacity of participants on how they could get adequate compensation from their crops, land and properties that may be destroyed by mining companies. Among the models to enhance adequate compensation high lighted by the Resource Person included 'Good pricing (Abochi price), Application of Compensation principles in section 74 of the Minerals and Mining Acts (Act 703, 2006). These include savage cost, deprivation of use, loss of earnings, loss of expected income, life expectancy of the crop and benefits that cannot be assessed in monetary terms such as scholarships for children, access to loan facilities, prestige, and access to desired partner (wife or husband). Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku, an Environmental Scientist and a Human Rights Activist, indicated that both Article 20 (2a) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 73 (1) of the Minerals and Mining Act 703 (Act 703, 2006) mandates companies to exercise prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation to persons whose properties would be affected by their operations. 'Again, Mining Regulation 2012 Compensation and Resettlement Regulation L.I 2175 also mandates companies to pay property owners within three months after an amount of compensation have been agreed by parties and defaulted companies are legally mandated to pay 10 percent interest anytime compensation remains unpaid,' he further explained. He said Section 100 (1), Minerals and Mining Act (Act 703, 2006) and UN Guiding Principle on Business and Human Rights (2011) compelled governments and the regulatory agencies to ensure proper implementation and companies' compliance with the mining laws, including respect for human rights. LEG is a research and advocacy Not-for-profit and Non-governmental organization established in 2004 to promote community rights, minerals governance, and provide sustainable livelihood skills for marginalised persons in society. It also promotes environmental sustainability, including climate change awareness creation, education and biodiversity conservation. Source: Ghana News Agency