Mining communities say they are not happy about operations of mining companies

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New Abirem (E/R), Oct 04, GNA – Some mining affected communities in the country have expressed worry about disruption of their livelihoods by mining companies during their operations.
    They said inadequate and delayed payments of compensation due them by the mining companies was also affecting them negatively.
    The communities including Wale Wale, Prestea, Obuasi, Ada, Kenyasi, Bolgatanga,    Dunkwa on-fin, Anyanui, Angloga, Dzita, Atiteti, Puveme and Half Assini among others expressed the concern at the sixth Annual National Mining Forum held at New Abirem on Wednesday.
    The forum, which was organized by the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM), was under the theme “Obtaining an Adequate Share of Mineral Revenue and utilizing it in Equitable and Transparent manner”.
     The communities noted with concern failure of the mining companies and regulatory agencies to mitigate the negative impacts the mining activities were having on them and the environment at large.
      They therefore appealed to the government and regulatory agencies like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minerals Commission and other stakeholders to ensure that the mining companies do the right thing.
      Mr Ben Aryee, Chief Executive Officer, Minerals Commission, in a speech read on his behalf, said the adequacy of revenue obtained by African governments from mineral exploitation was a subject of controversy.
     He said whilst no precise measure for determining adequacy existed, the widespread sense that Africa had not obtained commensurate compensation from exploitation of its mineral resources was impossible to ignore.
       Mr Aryee said that sentiment had become particularly pronounced since the current mineral commodity price boom, which had substantially lifted profits for mining companies.
      “Yet few of these high profits translate into increased or commensurate benefits for African mineral producing nations like Ghana and their local communities”, he added.
       Mr Aryee said most countries, like Ghana, rely on revenues from extractive industries in the form of taxes, royalties, fees and others to fund their economic growth and social activities.
     He added that in Ghana mineral revenues account for a significant percentage of government’s revenue and foreign exchange earnings, adding that, “subsequently, government over the years have developed fiscal policies aimed at making the country derive maximum benefit from revenues from mining of the country’s mineral resources”.
   Mr Aryee said government recognized the challenges in the sector and had always looked for innovative ways to properly maximize revenues from the exploitation of minerals.
    He said as a result of industry analysis, government introduced new fiscal policies in the 2012 budget aimed at bringing a better balance to mining fiscal regime as well as getting a share of the high price of gold being enjoyed by the gold producing companies.
     Mr Aryee said the Commission would therefore collaborate with civil society to ensure that government maximizes revenue from the sector.

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