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25.11.2004 Regional News

Provide inputs to mining law -Communities told

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Obuasi, Nov 25, GNA-A three-day sensitisation workshop on human rights and responsibilities of mining companies towards mining communities began at Obuasi on Wednesday.

It is being organised by Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), an NGO, for a cross section of the people, including assembly members within communities around Obuasi.

Some of the communities included Sanso, Dokyiwa, Ntonsua, Kwabrafoso, Anyimadukrom, Bediem, Tutuku, Amamon, Anankyirem and Adaase. Topics being discussed included the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) of Ghana and community rights and responsibilities, mining and community livelihood -what the communities, mining and compensation law and mining, the role of communities in organisation and struggles.

Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng of WACAM and a resource person, said the existing mining law was being reviewed and encouraged mining communities to provide inputs towards the law so that they would not be adversely affected.

She said most mining communities were being unduly affected by mining activities because of ignorance, illiteracy and poverty. That was why WACAM was trying to sensitise the communities on their rights and responsibilities to create harmonious relations between them and the companies.

Mrs Owusu-Koranteng stressed the need for the mining communities to get organised and united so that they could fight for their rights. Presenting a paper on "Development and Mining Communities -Aspects and Theories", she said communities could improve upon their lives if they also adopted some aspects of development.

"The communities can share information, ideas, think of their interests and develop strategies to outwit the divisive strategies of the exploiters who in this case are the foreign mining companies", she said.

Mrs Owusu-Koranteng said the mining communities could make demands that would free them from the exploiters and in the process protect their interest and that of the country.

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