The Associate Executive Director of Wacam, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, has stated that both the regulated mining companies and the unregulated mining operations have contributed to the pollution of rivers and the environmental crises the nation is facing currently.
“And the increased illegal mining operations must be regarded as some of the bad by-products of the irresponsible mining associated with over liberalization of the mining sector,” she said.
At a media engagement to mark 20 years of Wacam’s Mining Advocacy, the Associate Executive Director of Wacam stressed that a quick-fix and piecemeal approach to the problems of illegal mining could provide a lasting solution to the problem of irresponsible mining in the country.
She stated that the mining sector in Ghana is bedeviled with many problems because of the absence of policy direction for the sector.
As a country, she said, “we have succeeded in attracting huge investments in the mining sector but have failed to regulate the sector in such a way that would help reap short and long term benefits from the sector.
“This is why as an organization, we have worked hard to maintain a very high standard of excellence, credibility and gained public trust for our advocacy work.”
The position of Wacam, Mrs. Koranteng noted, on the social and environmental problems created by artisanal mining and illegal mining operations is that, the over liberalization of the mining sector and regulatory weaknesses has created a conductive environment for irresponsible mining to thrive.
Achievements and Challenges
Mining lobby globally is a very powerful one and those who have dared to be independent of the mining lobby have had a taste of their bullying tactics.
The power imbalance between the mining companies and the vulnerable mining communities compelled the mining communities that were confronted with the strength of the mining lobby to seek an avenue for countervailing force to address the power asymmetry.
On Wacam achievements, the Executive Director of Wacam, Mr. Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, stressed that the mining lobby is a very strong one with national and international connections to advance the interest of the multinational mining companies.
“Wacam activists have experienced intimidation and threats from the state security operatives and security personnel of the mining companies,” he said.
According to him, the intimidations and threats notwithstanding, Wacam activists have worked very hard to sensitise community people, NGOs, journalists, faith-based organizations, trade union congress, traditional rulers, public institutions, students in tertiary institutions and parliamentarians on mining issues.
Mr. Koranteng commended the media for the important role it has played in helping Wacam through its mining advocacy work.
“We are proud of the achievements of Wacam but we are quick to accept the achievements that Wacam has chalked in the past twenty years have been made possible by the support of many individuals, community people NGOs, Funding partners, faith-based organizations, Journalists among others,” he added.
Wacam has gained tremendous mining advocacy experience which had been shared with the broad spectrum of the Ghanaian society and other countries in the sub region and beyond and over 5,000 people have benefited from the training of Wacam to date and this has contributed to the diffusion of knowledge on mining issues in the society.
The community-based mining advocacy model of Wacam he expressed, has empowered community people especially women to protect their rights based on the knowledge of the mining laws and conventions ratified by the government of Ghana.
The campaigns of Wacam and other NGO’s on human rights abuses in the mining communities have contributed to the reduction of cases of human rights abuses in mining communities.
BY: RAMATU YAKUBU//24NEWS.NEWS//GHANA