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10.11.2008 Business & Finance

Deepen Relations With Mining Communities•Mining Firms Told

By Daily Guide

CIVIL SOCIETY groups, the academia and other developmental organisations have stressed the need for mining companies to deepen their relationship with mining communities, especially in developing countries, to foster development.

At a three-day regional conference on the future role of mining in Africa that ended over the weekend, representatives of participant organisations from some African countries including Zambia and South Africa called for a strategy that will maximize revenue both for countries and their communities.

Among issues discussed at the meeting, expected to culminate in a working paper to be issued to countries engaged in mining, were mineral resource income: lessons and options for the future as well as the mining boom and enclave economy.

Others included national development strategy and artisanal or small-scale mining and out-of-the-enclave issues, challenges and alternatives for Africa's mining sector.

Ray Bush, a professor at Leeds University, outlined three critical issues based on empirical, policy and theoretical questions.

Under the empirical, Professor Bush underlined what ought to be done with regard to judiciary reform, government oversight, communities and dispossession.

On policy direction, he touched on the state and political robustness, and the ability to convert advocacy into policy and hold government accountable.

Yao Graham, Coordinator of Third World Network, in a remark, called for a policy direction that would improve the lives of people living in mining communities.

“We can help to change the relationship between mining communities and mining companies. The unfair treatment of artisanal miners and communities should be a central part of policy directions.”

Dr. Graham also reiterated the need for Ghana and African countries to look beyond Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in mining and rather empower local firms to accrue more benefits for their respective countries. By Charles Nixon Yeboah