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17.11.2005 Regional News

Prestea condemns lifting of ban on surface mining in Prestea

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Accra, Nov. 17, GNA - The Concerned Citizen Association of Prestea on Thursday condemned the lifting of the ban placed on the mining activities of Bogoso Gold Limited (BGL), a subsidiary of Golden Star Resource of Canada, in the Prestea Township.

They said: "We wish to express our disappointment about the manner in which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) lifted the ban placed on the operations of BGL without addressing the problems of the Prestea and Himan communities."

A resolution signed by Mr Eric Sherwood, Secretary and Richmond Agyeman, Member of the Association and issued in Accra said: "What is even more disturbing is the fact that the conditions that were set for the Company to commence operations did not include the community problems, which had been the basis for the conflicts between the communities and the BGL.

The resolution addressed to the Speaker of Parliament, said: "It has become clear to us that the EPA and the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Environment and Science with the support of the Military and the Police have imposed the operation of BGL on the people of Prestea and Himan.

It said they have been made to feel that the Parliamentary Sub-Committee on Environment and Science, the Parliamentarian and EPA were only interested in the profit objectives of BGL and not the problems that were confronting the people because of the mining operations of BGL.

The resolution said the poor people of Prestea and Himan now perceived their representatives as agents of foreign interest that would go to great lengths to impose a foreign Company that was clearly destroying their hospital, water bodies and houses in their desire to maximize profits.

It recalled, "on the 13th of June 2005, when we embarked on a peaceful demonstration against the negative impact of BGL, the Company was able to mobilise the Military and the Police to shoot innocent people.

"We have made several calls for investigations into the shooting incident but BGL seems to be above the laws of Ghana", so nothing has been done, the resolution said.

The resolution appealed to the Speaker to use his "good offices to call for full-scale investigations into the shooting incident". It also called on the Government to place a ban on the operations of BGL as an immediate step to stop BGL from inflicting further pain on the people of Prestea and Himan.

It expressed confidence in the Speaker and Parliament to defend their constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment.