Thursday, 30 November

Wacam holds responsible mining forum in Accra

Resource persons seated at the dais at Wacam forum

Wacam, a premier community-based human rights and environmental mining advocacy non-governmental organisation (NGO), in collaboration with its partners, Oxfam, Care International, DKA Austria and OSIWA, has organised a responsible mining forum in Accra.

The two-day forum (Thursday, September 22-Friday, September 23, 2022,) which brought together representatives of regulatory institutions, academia, Association of Small Scale Miners, media personnel, civil society groups, and people from mining communities, was on the theme: “Achieving The Responsible Mining Goals: A Reality Or A Mirage?”

It formed part Wacam’s efforts to ensure responsible mining practices in the mining, oil and gas industries. 

More importantly, it provided an ideal platform to ensure that the owners of the resource think through the processes and provide the state with concrete measures to support responsible mining.

Welcoming participants, the Associate Executive Director of Wacam, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, said responsible mining can be ensured when strong mining laws were in place.

“We will not be able to hold mining companies to responsible mining practices with our existing weak laws which prescribe weak penalties for infractions of the law including prescribing fines as low as US$5,000 in addition to the provision that if the fine cannot be paid, “the amount shall be recoverable as civil debt to the state.”

“…The only way to hold mining companies to responsible corporate behaviour is to develop strong mining laws,” she stressed.

Such strong laws, she contended, will support mining communities’ rights to hold mining companies to payment of huge fines in situations of cyanide spillage in addition to compensations for affected communities for the pollution of their rivers.

She also called for the Minerals and Mining Act of Ghana to contain provisions for the right of the host communities to Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC).

According to her, the FPIC will empower mining communities to resist mining operations that has the potential to adversely impact on their health, economic livelihoods and social life.

Wacam also used the first day of the event to launch its new book entitled “Policy Brief On The Mining Sector of Ghana.”

The 40-page book was written by the Executive Director of Wacam, Mr. Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of Wacam, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Lawyer Augustine Niber, Dr. Samuel Obiri and Lawyer Kwaku Afari.

 Launching the book, the Board Chairman of Wacam, Lawyer John Opoku, said the book was timely, especially when there was the urgent need to factor in policies necessary in dealing with mining-related issues.

He went on to reveal that the book talks about various challenges in the mining sector, proposed policies and recommendations for a fiscal regimes.

Other chapters of the book, he disclosed, focus on recommendations on mining and climate change, recommendations on gender, and recommendations for including persons with disability among others. Copies of the books were given to the participants.

Lawyer Opoku urged the participants to read the book and not put it under their pillows.

Source: Mensah