The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ms Joyce Aryee, has stated that the mining laws which prescribe compensation payments for lands, crops and buildings affected by mining are unfavourable to people and communities affected by mining.
"Objectives of the sections of the laws that deal with compensations are not specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time bound (SMART)," she stated.
She said this at a sensitisation workshop on compensation in the mining sector organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines/Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) in Accra.
Ms Aryee stated that research and advocacy by the chamber were to help find lasting and mutually acceptable guidelines on compensation issues and push for the development and implementation of SMART guidelines for handling compensation in the mining industry and the nation.
She said the advocacy project was part of the chamber's objectives to provide leadership for the solution of national issues that were related to mining.
She said the chamber and its members subscribed to the principles of sustainable development that met the needs of the present generation, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Presenting an overview of the advocacy project titled "Advocacy for the establishment of standards of compensation for mining concessions", a consultant from AIDEC Consultancies International Limited, Mr Ambrose Yiennah, said there were no standard compensations and property values on land in the mining areas which left room for controversies.
He said the advocacy project included activities such as research, sensitisation workshops in Accra, Tarkwa and Kumasi, a media campaign, petition/dialogue and negotiation, follow up and an internal monitoring, evaluation and reporting.
He said the objectives of the advocacy action were to have a national policy whi.ch clearly sorted out the principles, basis and standards of compensation for mining concessions and property values, have a prescribed negotiation procedure and dispute resolution mechanism and have a policy on speculative developers on mining concessions.
Mr Yiennah said the purpose of the sensitisation workshop was to inform, educate and seek stakeholder input into the draft compensation policy.
Presenting the research findings, Mr Andorful stated that the issue of compensation had been one of the difficult subjects in the mining sector, spanning from exploitation to decommissioning.
He added that the law left the determination of actual compensation payable to negotiations between the parties involved, resulting sometimes in lengthy litigation.
He said the objective of the research was to collate data on the current socioeconomic conditions, livelihood activities, capabilities and options available to households that had suffered economic displacements with the purpose of reevaluating the options for compensation packages.
"It was also to review the Minerals and Mining Law with regard to compensation with a view to minimising the impact mining operations had on the incomes and livelihoods of mining communities.
The study showed that 79 per cent of people affected were not satisfied with their compensation packages, 5.6 per cent stating no indications, with 15.4 per cent being satisfied with their packages.
It revealed that 57 per cent of the respondents wanted cash as their compensation, two per cent expected money and land, four per cent expected land, three per cent expected financial investments, with 34 per cent expecting land and financial investments.
The study suggested the need for a better compensation, especially for non-cropped areas, and a better compensation level that should include money, land and financial investment.