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03.06.2005 Business & Finance

Help check abuses by mining companies


Obuasi (Ash), June 3, GNA - Communities where mining activities are taking place have been urged to avail themselves of opportunities that will enable them know their rights to help check abuses by the mining companies.

According to Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM), even though the nation's Constitution guaranteed the full protection of human rights of its citizens, minerals-endowed communities faced human rights abuses from multinational mining companies. Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the Director of Training and Research of WACAM, made the call at a three-day workshop on strengthening the capacity of mining communities at Obuasi on Thursday. Over 40 participants drawn from mining communities in Wassa West, Adansi South, Adansi North, Obuasi Municipal and Brong-Ahafo region were attending the workshop.

It was organised by WACAM with sponsorship from OKA, an Austria Catholic Charity Organisation.

Mrs Owusu-Koranteng said abuses by some of the mining companies were threatening communities' rights to property, livelihood with investment into the extractive sectors of the economy. She pointed out that communities in Wassa West in the Western region and Adansi State in the Ashanti region represented such communities, as they happened to have many operations of surface mining companies.

"Of late however, many more communities in the Brong-Ahafo and Eastern regions faced potential threats from mining investment", she said.

She said mining investments were gradually taking over communities' lands and natural resources and moving into protected forests to extract gold.

Participants' expectations were that the workshop would assist them gain knowledge to check further exploitation by existing mining companies in their areas.