A research finding on Open Cast Mining carried out by the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and the Department of Geology of the University of Ghana has revealed that the cost of Open Cast Mining outweighs its benefits.

The research conducted by Dr. Goerge Botchie and
Dr. Thomas Akabzaa, both lecturers of the university was conducted in the Wassa West District, one of the largest mining areas in the country.

The research findings were presented at a day’s Regional Dissemination Workshop on Land Tenure System
in Bolgatanga on Friday aimed at sharing the findings of the research and educating participants on the new Land Reform policies.

It attracted personnel from the Land Agencies,
Heads of Department, Traditional Authorities and “Tindambas” or Landowners.

Presenting the findings, Dr. Botchie, stated that the average annual cost between 1990 and 2004 on the foregone value of crops stood at ¢34 billion, timber valued at ¢3.3 billion, lost of nutrients of plants and Genetic materials stood at 9.4 billion cedis, loss of houses ¢2.6 billion, Environmental Services ¢7.6 billion and cost of illness ¢9.1 billion.

Stating the average annual benefits in the same period, the findings indicated that ¢4.7 billion was accrued from taxes and royalties, employment ¢33.3 billion, compensation ¢1.9 billion and other social and economic benefits stood at ¢5.3 billion.

Comparing the costs and benefits, the findings showed that the Wassa West District accumulated a negative average net nominal benefit of ¢21.8 billion over the period 1990-2004 representing a loss of about 0.09 percent of average nominal Gross Domestic Production.

The findings noted that the situation with Open Cast Mining in the Wassa West District was not different from the other mining zones in the country.

It suggested that the inhabitants of mining areas needed to be adequately compensated, taking into cognisance the loss of farmlands, land degradation, displacement of local communities, health impacts, air, water, noise pollution, high cost of living, inadequate housing and employment.

The findings recommended that the Mineral Rights Acquisition procedures needed to be reformed to ensure a win-win situation for all stakeholders, and a Polluter-Pays Principle be enforced in all mining areas to minimize the cost of negative environmental impacts.

It also recommended that a sufficient proportion of royalties be returned to the districts where most of the minerals came from and where the negative impact of mining was felt most.

Source: GNA