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28.05.2012 General News

Mining Firms Deliberate On Alternative Livelihood For Mining Communities

By Mary Mensah - Daily Graphic
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Mining companies have begun deliberations on adopting a common framework to provide alternative sources of livelihood for mining communities to reduce poverty and their total dependence on mining.

Proposals for the adoption of the framework were validated at a workshop in Accra Thursday.

Addressing the opening session of the workshop which was organised by the Chamber of Mines in collaboration with the United Nations Global Compact, the Chief Executive Officer of the chamber, Dr Joyce Aryee, said available social data showed that it would be prudent for mining companies to select their alternative livelihood programmes based on a common framework.

She said although this approach was challenging and damaging, it was believed that arriving at these recommendations must be done systematically and meticulously, since this process largely eliminated the possibility for social judgement while balancing divergent views characterised by conflicting information.

She said the programme underscored the chamber’s quest to promote sustainable development in the mining communities and called on all stakeholders involved in the delivery of alternative livelihood programmes to initiate an all-inclusive effort to reverse the escalating trend towards poor planning, design, implementation and monitoring of alternative livelihood programmes.

She said local economic development would offer local government, the private sector, non-profit organisations and mining communities the opportunity to work together to improve the local economy to create opportunities and the enabling environment for the communities to pursue their own economic interests.

Dr Aryee asserted that the concept of working with mining communities as entities of poverty units must change and instead to begin looking at individuals who needed support to set up their own SME’s, adding that local communities must be introduced to starting their own businesses supported with financing disbursed through third party fund managers.

This, she said, could be a starting point for indirectly engaging groups like small-scale illegal miners in alternative small to medium enterprises.

Mr S. Quaye from SWQ Consulting Limited, one of the researchers, said the global awareness of alternative livelihood programmes for mining communities delivered a new paradigm shift encompassing ethical issues.

He said large-scale mining companies mostly operating in poor rural communities were, therefore, making alternative livelihood a significant focus of their corporate social responsibility activities, adding that mining companies were implementing more alternative livelihood programmes in the belief that it would help reduce the communities’ economic dependence on the mines.

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