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General News | May 6, 2004

Environmentalists to send Government to court

GNA

Accra, May 6, GNA - A Coalition of Civil Society Groups and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) concerned with the environment on Thursday threatened to go to court if the Government refused to meet their demands with regard to mining in the country's forest reserves. Consequently, the Coalition has also called on the Government to put in a clear-cut policy to protect the forest from being degraded by the big mining companies.

Mr Abudulai Darimani, Environmental Programme Officer of Third World Network (TWN), an International Nongovernmental Organisation, on Thursday announced this at a workshop organised by the League of Environmental Journalists (LEJ) in Accra.

The aim of the workshop was to equip the media with knowledge and first hand information on mining, the environment and sustainable development so that they could report on them with a greater understanding and to bring the issues to the centre of public discussions.

He said the Government should resource the various State monitoring institutions such as the Forestry Commission (FC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to do their work effectively to ensure that the forest reserves were protected from degradation.

Mr Darimani said over the years many big mining companies had caused considerable damage to the environment, especially in mining communities.

The Director of Mining at EPA, Nana Andoh appealed for the allocation of resources to the Organisation to strengthen its monitoring role of the various mining companies in the country.

He said a technical committee had been put in place to review the environmental assessment programmes of mining companies to ensure that the required standards set by the EPA were met.

He said it was difficult for the EPA to properly control the activities of illegal small-scale mining operators since they did not fall under any organisation.

Mr Mike Anane, President of LEJ, called on the media to sustain their reportage on mining issues to ensure the active and sustained participation of stakeholders in the protection of the environment and the judicious use of natural resources.

He said almost all the mining companies operating in Ghana were currently engaged in open-pit surface mining.

He said extracting gold through the surface mining method meant the excavation of the topsoil over large areas adding that the use of cyanide in heap leaching presented risks to the health of the miners and nearby communities. 06 May 04

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