Five mining communities in Ghana have undergone special sensitization on a new approach to address grievances as well as strengthen relationship between mining companies and communities in their operational areas.
Known as the Mine-Site Assessment Tool (MSAT), the new approach is a simple tool designed to be used as an entry point for constructive company-community dialogue with a view to seeking resolution to issues of direct importance to inhabitants of mining communities.
The day’s workshop held in Obuasi sensitized stakeholders, key representatives and inhabitants drawn from five mining communities; the Adansi Kenya in the Adansi South District, Manso Aponapono in the Amansie South District, Tongo in the Talensi Nabdam District, Ayanfuri in the Upper Denkyira West District and Osino in the Fanteakwa District.
The sensitization exercise was organized by the Centre for Social Impact Studies (CESIS), a research and advocacy NGO, based in Obuasi.
CESIS adopted this tool designed by its partners – Responsible Mining Foundation (RMF) – as guidelines to train community members in mining areas on how to address their grievances after visiting five mining communities to understand at firsthand their plights.
Executive Director for CESIS, Robert Ali Tanti, said the sensitization presents the best approaches to address issues on the operations of mining companies in their communities.
The MSAT Tool
The Mine Site Assessment Tool (MSAT) covers fifteen (15) topics on a range of economic, environmental, social and governance issues.
It also contains questions on environmental matters such as air quality, water quality and quantity, rehabilitation and tailings management
The tool, according to officials, has proven effective in creating a non-confrontational space for community members and mine-site managers to discuss specific issues of importance to lives and livelihoods of affected communities.
The tool was designed by Responsible Mining Foundation (RMF) following a request from stakeholders in mining communities for a simple tool to assess the operations of mining companies in their area.
Benefits of MSAT
CESIS in the past eight months has facilitated use of the MSAT by five communities in Ghana in connection with five different mining operations.
The Centre has collaborated with RMF to build the capacity of selected community actors from five mining communities in Ghana to enable them engage with mining companies operating in their areas using the Community Mine Assessment Tool.
Mr. Tanti revealed that Manso Aponapono community was empowered to petition the Mineral Commission on issues of compensations by virtue of MSAT.
This was after CESIS toured Adansi Kenya (Adansi South District), Manso Aponapono (Amansie South), Tongo (Talensi Nabdam) and Osino (Fanteakwa District).
The Regional office of the Mineral Commission has intervened and encouraged the mining company to properly compensate them.
In Ayanfuri, a constructive dialogue has started with the company around local content and training of community members. According to several local leaders, the other issues on water, air and tailings are also being resolved by the company.
“…we will embark on similar exercises in areas like Ada, Nsuta and Awaso which are into the mining of salt, Manganese and Bauxite respectively”, the Executive Director said.
The ‘NEW’ Environmental Protection Agency
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Obuasi Metropolis is currently undergoing a re-tooling exercise designed to empower the state agency to effectively undertake their mandate.
The agency has now recruited 300 additional Staff to augment the existing workforce, coupled with plans to open additional regional offices in Bekwai, Manso Nkwanta, Ejisu, Tepa, Nkawie and Mampong.
Again, he talked about moves by the Agency to procure more drones to boost their operations. He revealed that “between 25th to 29th October, Staff of the Obuasi office will undergo training in the use of drones to monitor mining activities in their operational area”.
He called on those who are interested in doing community mining to contact the lawful agencies mandated to issues permits to extractive companies.
He said such people should contact the Mineral Commission for their Mineral License, EPA for their Environmental permit and the Mines Inspectorate Unit for digging permit.
Response from Stakeholders
Assembly member for Ofoase Nkatiase Electoral Area-Osino, Ofosuware Shadrack, said the workshop has helped him re-strategise on appropriate channels to address mining challenges in the district.
“Hitherto, we were a bit confrontational. After picking key lessons from the MSAT, I will teach my people on a right way to address the myriad of issues we have”, Shadrack who doubles as Mines Committee Chairman in the Fanteakwa District Assembly added.
About CESIS GHANA
The Centre for Social Impact Studies (CeSIS) was formed in January 2011 as a research and advocacy non-governmental organization primarily focused on providing research backbone to Ghana’s extractive industry.
The organization is headquartered in Obuasi in the Ashanti Region with an office in Takoradi, the Western Regional capital that focuses on the minerals, oil and gas industry.
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