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26.11.2005 Business & Finance

Mining companies tasked to ensure harmony in operational areas

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Accra, Nov.26, GNA- Ms Rita Tani Iddi, Deputy Minister of Mines at the weekend called on the Chamber of Mines to ensure that communities in their operational areas became an integrated part of their activities to facilitate the resolution of conflicts.

This, she said would help resolve the spate of agitations that have clouded their activities this year, adding, "Although a few of these may be due to mischief, I believe that most of them come as a result of ignorance of the operations in the industry".

Ms Iddi was speaking at the annual get-together of the Chamber in Accra, hosted by the Gold fields Ghana Limited. She said if chiefs knew that exploration companies do not pay loyalties, they would not start demanding royalties during the period of prospecting.

"I believe that when our people are well educated on the operations in the mining industry, we will have fewer agitations to deal with. I, therefore, call on the Chamber and its members to seek permission and explain their operations to the district assemblies," she said.

Mr Mike Ezan, President of the Chamber said, for mining to make a profound contribution to sustainable development, it was important to address the integration of all aspects of economic, social and environmental benefits.

"Some of the most critical challenges facing the industry in the area of sustainable development is environmental management systems, the rehabilitation of mine sites, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable development practices, and the involvement of communities in facing these challenges for their benefit."

Mr Ezan said although the industry had generated wealth in direct and indirect ways, there was a growing perception that there is a mismatch of opportunities and problems.

"The perception is that the wealth often seem to be created far from the communities and environments that feel the adverse impacts," he observed.

Mr Ezan said if the minerals sector was to contribute positively to sustainable development, it needed to demonstrate continuous improvement of its social, economic and environmental contribution, adding, "We need to be at the forefront of the promotion of responsible stewardship of natural resources and the environment". Ms Joyce Rosalind Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber said working in a mine was an integrated activity that called for personal touch.

Mr Brendan Walker, Managing Director of Goldfields, Ghana expressed satisfaction that the support his company gave to Blackstars had ensured their qualification to the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

" Ever since Goldfields started sponsoring the Blackstars, the Blackstars have not lost any match," he said attracting laughter.

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