March 26, 2017

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Stop mining in forest reserves or face colossal ecological consequences – Ghanaian NGO warns

An environmental lobby group in Ghana is gravely concerned about mining activities that are taking place in the country’s forest reserves and has warned the government that the country could face huge ecological consequences, if nothing is done.

So concerned about the state of affairs is that the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) that it adopted a resolution at the end of its Fifth National Conference which was held in Ghana’s city of Kumasi.

The organisation reiterated the statement made by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently: “Ghana will experience severe water crisis by 2025, if nothing is done to reduce the increasing pollution of water bodies and forest degradation.”

The EPA said that it feared that the country’s per capital water availability would be 1,000 cubic metres (m3) per annum, making Ghana a water-stressed country.

WACAM advised the government to revoke mining licences of companies involved in open cast mining in forest reserves. However, it acknowledged that the challenge could be that the activity was actually sanctioned by the government, which had issued licences to multinational companies to mine in the forest reserves.

Legislation, in particular current Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703, 2006, acknowledged WACAM, provided adequate protection for multinational mining companies, but did not safeguard the surface rights of affected mining communities.

Worse still, said the conference, Minerals and Mining Act did not oblige mining companies to make provisions for Polluter Pays Principles (PPP).

The Conference discussed issues relating to the protection of the social, civil, political, economic and environmental rights of mining communities in relation to national policies, as well as the policies of WACAM that form the basis for its advocacy work.

Sourced from an article published on www.ghanaweb.com and adapted for African Mining Brief Online

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