MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Ghana: Women declared most affected by mining activities

Published by MAC on 2006-07-10

Ghana: Women declared most affected by mining activities

by Clement Boateng, Tarkwa, Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra) -

10th July 2006

Participants at a three-day sensitization workshop on gender dimensions of mining impacts have observed that women were the most affected people whenever mining companies deprived the communities of their livelihoods.

This is because aside the compensation paid for physical property destroyed, other social, natural, human and financial assets that the mining activities destroy, which are always ignored have more relevance to women.

The participants buttressed their observation with the fact that majority of Ghanaian women were into agriculture, which implied that their very survival depended on tilling the land and that depriving the women of farmlands bring untold hardships on them and their families, adding that women were mostly responsible for collection of foodstuffs, non-timber forest products as well as fetching of water.

The workshop, organized and funded by Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) and Rights and Voice Initiative (RAVI) respectively was also aimed at fashioning out strategies of work, increase voice of women in community struggle and advocacy.

About forty-five representatives, including chiefs, assembly members, human rights and gender activists and the media who participated validated a research document on "Effects of Gold Mining on Livelihoods:

The Gender Component, was conducted by some research fellows from the University of Cape Coast.

With the help of a legal luminary, Mr. Yaw Opoku, the participants were comprehensively taken through the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) and the human rights provisions enshrined in the Constitution of Ghana.

The participants observed that the new minerals and mining law did not in many ways address the plight and concerns of the mining communities, but would rather worsen the already unfavorable situation.

The Chief Executive Director of WACAM, Mr. Daniel Owusu Koranteng affirmed that the new mining law had adequate provisions for the interest of mining companies but weak in protecting communities mining.

He therefore urged the mining communities to take the training seriously so that they would be able to bring out some of the weaknesses of the mining law.

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