The Associate Executive Director for Wacam, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng has appealed to Journalists in the country to consider as a duty, support for the vulnerable and help amplify the voice of people who suffer in silence because of the activities of mining operatives including multinational mining companies, small scale companies and illegal miners.
Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng made the appeal at a workshop organized for media practitioners in Accra on Media and Responsible Mining. The theme for the Workshop was, “Amplifying community voice for responsible mining, the role of the media”.
The activities of mining operatives, Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng noted, has caused mayhem in affected mining communities because of their enormous financial and lobbying might. Wacam’s partnership with the media over the years, she said, has contributed to the success of their mining advocacy and pledged to increase the sensitization of the media on issues of responsible mining and the environment.
“We believe that when the media is sensitized on important issues of responsible mining and the environment, it would contribute to the efforts of holding mining companies, duty bearers and policy makers to the principles of responsible mining.”
The scale of destruction associated with Galamsey, Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng pointed out, is part of the whole mining crisis facing the nation. She added that it would be wrong to assume that because the large multinational mining companies are regulated, their activities do not destroy the environment.
Wacam’s position as far as the Galamsey menace is concerned, Mrs Owusu Koranteng indicated, should be considered part of a larger problem of irresponsible mining that has engulfed the nation, resulting in the pollution of rivers, destruction of the environment and creating serious social, environmental and economic legacies for mining communities and the country.
“It is important that we broaden the scope of the fight against illegal mining operations to cover the broad spectrum of issues in irresponsible mining, which would recognize that it is irresponsible mining operations of the third gold rush (third jungle boom) that has given birth to the scale of the Galamsey menace we are experiencing today.
According to Mrs. Koranteng, Ghana has opened its doors wide to attract mining investment through generous incentives to multinational mining companies to undertake surface mining operations without developing strong laws to regulate mining operations.
This, she stated, has resulted in the loss of livelihood, displacement of about 100,000 landlords, pollution of many rivers, exacerbation of poverty in mining communities, destruction of forest reserves among others. She expressed Wacam’s solidarity with the Ghana Mine Workers Union (GMWU) in the struggle against the redundancy of 1,700 workers of Goldfields Ghana Limited.
“In the opinion of Wacam, the decision to declare 1,700 workers redundant is motivated by the desire of the company to reap supernormal profit. We wish to remind Goldfields Ghana Limited and all mining companies in the country that they have benefitted from the windfall profits for many years, which they have repatriated to shareholders outside Ghana and therefore cannot use current operational problems to justify the decision to declare 1,700 workers redundant.”
By William Sarpong