The Third World Network-Africa conducted a research on the environmental and socio-economic impactsPublished by MAC on 2001-05-23
The Third World Network-Africa conducted a research on the environmental and socio-economic impacts of mining, AngloGold Ashanti Obuasi Mines, on Obuasi and its satellite communities. As part of process of validating the findings of the research, TWN-Africa organised a two-day workshop for communities who participated in the workshop. The statement below is part of an outcome of the workshop.
VALIDATION WORKSHOP ON THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND SOCIO-ECONOMIC IMPACT OF MINING ON OBUASI AND SATELLITE COMMUNITIES AUGUST 24TH TO 25TH, 2005, KUMASI, GHANA
STATEMENT FROM PARTICIPANTS FROM AFFECTED COMMUNITIES
We, 18 communities affected by mining from Obuasi, Kenyasi, Bibiani, Himan-Prestea, Hia, Anyinam, Tarkwa, Oseikrom/Twinsaaso, New Bidiem, Ankaako, Ntonsu, Ayankyerem, Kwaberefoso, Jimiso, Ewiase, Dokyiwaa, and Fenaso-Fawoman participating in a two-day workshop in Kumasi, Ghana, from August 24th to 25th, 2005 to validate a research conducted on the environmental and socio-economic impact of mining (Anglo-gold-Ashanti Obuasi Mines) in Obuasi and surrounding communities, and also the potential effects of the mining bill, concluded thus:
On the findings of the research, we are pleased that these have vindicated our long held perception that mining, particularly surface mining has adversely impacted our communities. The activities of Anglogold-Ashanti in particular and generally surface mining in our communities have resulted in:
- Water pollution in particular River Fena, and supu which lie within the operational area of Anglogold-Ashanti
- Increased lack of access to farmlands
- The spread of mining related diseases such as skin rushes, eye inflammatory diseases, respiratory track infections, HIV/AIDS, and tuberculoses (TB)
- Increased unemployment
- Land degradation
- Increased harassment and intimidation by mining company security and officials
- General environmental degradation such as blasting effects, noise and public health safety.
Government and Company Response
We are extremely concerned that the response by the company in particular Anglo-gold Ashanti and the state regulatory institutions to these problems has been very appalling. For instance, while the law provides for adequate and fair compensation this has not always been the case when mining companies take over our lands and other property. Also, the expression of dissent and demand for fair treatment has often been met with rapid deployment of state and private security to harass community members resulting, in many cases, in violent conflicts and human rights violation.
Minerals and Mining Bill 2005
On the current mining bill that has been laid before parliament, we have heightened suspicion that it would not address or mitigate the negative impacts of mining on our communities. We are even more disturbed by the fact that both the process and the content of the minerals and mining bill failed to articulate much of these realities on the ground. While the bill is replete with provisions that offer protection and incentives for mining transnational corporations the same cannot be said when it comes to issues of compensation, environmental protection (in particular water pollution, dust pollution, mining related disease control and public health and safety as well as land degradation), employment generation for Ghanaian nationals, access to information and access to courts, which are fundamental to community interest.
We call on parliament to allow more debate on the bill. Parliament should particularly reach out to the communities affected by mining before passing the mining bill.
The spread of mining related diseases is a matter of concern to our survival and development in our respective communities as well as public health generally. The health concerns were confirmed by aspects of the research report and we call on the Ghana National Health Service and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to investigate into this problem.
Also, the Water Resources Commision should carry out further and detail investigation into the reported cases of water pollution in mining affected communities.
The Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) should investigate into the human rights complaints/violations raised by the report and communities living on the fringes of mining projects.
Mining companies should respect the rights of local communities and environmental performance standards.
We call on the regulatory institutions to step up their monitoring responsibility to ensure compliance by mining companies.
The media is called upon to step up its advocacy role on mining issues.
We commend TWN for good work done with respect to the research report, but entreat them to replicate the study in other communities affected by mining in the country.
We are committed to working with the media and other civil society groups to intensify public education on the negative impacts of mining on community livelihood and development.
Clement Kofi Scott, Obuasi
Gibson Asante, Bibiani
Anthony K. Ekyem, Oseikrom/Twinsaaso
Nana Ofori Bonnah, New Bidiem
Kwabena Asamoah, Ankaaso
Anthony Bioh, Ntonsu
Nana Ama Dufie, Ayamkyere
J. A. Osei, Tarkwa
Nana Gyebi, Hia No1
Badu Samora, Himan-Prestea
Gloria Darkwa, Kwaberefoso
Sylvester Osei, Jimiso
Baffour Awuah, Ewiase
Peter Manu, Dokyiwaah
Thomas Owusu, Fenaso-Fawoman
Kwame Boateng, Hia No2
Richard Adjei-Poku, Kenyasi No2
E. K. Sethena, Kenyasi No1
Third World Network-Africa
Elvis G. Adikah, Civic Response