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25.08.2005 General News

Minerals bill on environment is recipe for conflict

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Kumasi, Aug 25, GNA - Third World Network Africa (TWN-Africa) says a provision in the draft bill on mining that gives absolute control of lands in the country to the government was a sure recipe for conflict. ''If that aspect of the bill is allowed to stay and pass into law, it will mean that people could even be moved out of their houses if minerals are discovered on lands where their houses have been constructed,'' the non-governmental organisation said.

Mr Abdulai Darimani, Environmental Programme Officer of TWN-Africa, said should such a case arise there will definitely be complete chaos. He was speaking at the opening of a two-day validation workshop on a research report on the environmental and social impact of mining activities in Obuasi and satellite communities of the municipality and the Adansi North District in Kumasi on Wednesday.

About 35 participants mainly from the communities that took part in the research and communities affected by mining attended the workshop. The workshop is expected to facilitate community mobilisation around AngloGold Ashanti as well as facilitate the networking of communities affected by mining.

Mr Darimani said should conflict occur as a result of government taking over land on which people have their houses for mining, the rights of the people would be abused since security personnel would be sent to restore peace as a result of the conflict that will ensue. ''Mining has been the single industry in Ghana that has generated several conflicts over the past 20 years.''

Mr Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, Communications Policy Advisor of TWN-Africa, said validation was important in research because it afforded people the opportunity to make inputs as to whether they agree or disagree with research findings. 25 Aug 05

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