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30.09.2008 General News

WACAM appeals for harmonized Mining Code

By gna

Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) is holding a three-day workshop to deliberate on ways to harmonise the Mining Code of Ghana.

The workshop which started on Monday is expected to get people understand the need for a change in the mining code and also for Ghanaians to benefit more from the mining sector in terms of resources.

The code, which is going through the drafting stage, seeks to come out with portions, which do not benefit the Government and mining communities and solutions to deal with such problems.

Mrs Hannah Owusu Koranteng, Director of Trading and Research for WACAM said the Mining Code of Ghana possessed loopholes and so wasn't strong enough to support Human Rights issues which was a major challenge to the mining communities.

Touching on problems facing the Mining Sector she said government wasn't helping enough to ensure that mining companies work according to what was in the Code and because of that the companies were rather benefiting to the detriment of the government and the communities.

She added that, Mining Companies were not paying taxes to the government and that there wasn't any laws governing the reclamations of lands.

She stated some challenges mining communities were going through such as lack of organisation, the tendencies for government to protect corporate interest as against the sovereign rights of citizens and mining communities and other factors and stressed the need for a change in the mining code since it was benefiting the companies rather than the mining communities.

Ms. Valerie Traore, a Mining Consultant who facilitated the programme, said compensations given to Mining Communities were very meagre because apart from mining destroying their lands it was also violating their human rights since they were normally not informed about the whole exercise.

She said factors such as lack of control of resources, lack of information, lack of concerns of companies and right for communities to decide what they want and how they want to live, were among other factors affecting the human rights of the mining communities.