‘Incorporate all surface-mining operations into MMIP to address all mining-related problems’

Mrs. Hanna Owusu-Koranteng

Mrs. Hanna Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of Wacam-a civil society organiSation, has advocated review of the Multisectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) for it to be holistic and incorporate all surface-mining operations so as to ensure effectively dealing with all mining-related problems.

The MMIP is a five-year government policy instrument designed to tackle the menace of illegal mining and sanitise artisanal small-scale miners. According to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the project is expected to adopt collaborative, law enforcement and technological approaches.

But Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng is of the view that the project is so skewed in regard to galamsey operations and regularised small-scale mining – which are not different from the other regularised surface mining activities that have contributed to the trail of bad environmental, social and economic legacies.

According to the sector-ministry, at least 1.5% of Ghana’s land surface of 228,000sq km has been destroyed through irresponsible mining. The country will need billions of Ghana cedis to reclaim the land surface damaged by mining activities.

“I believe that the problem around mining in the country is the entirety of surface mining; whether it involves large corporate entities, small firms, or be it legal or illegal mining activity. The large tracts on land destroyed through mining were not only caused by illegal and regulated small-scale mining. The unpleasant stories in places like Obuasi, Tarkwa and Bogoso were all caused by large-scale corporate mining companies,” she said.

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng made this assertion in an interview with B&FT on the sidelines of a media interaction held in Sunyani by Wacam on irresponsible mining. She pointed out that the MMIP is quite silent on allocation of lands after reclamation – wondering if those lands will revert to the original owners. “For many of such lands, no compensations were paid and they were seized compulsorily.”

She further quizzed: “If the MMIP is concentrating on reducing illegal small-scale mining to the barest minimum, what happens to communities who are affected by the irresponsible operations of large-scale companies? What happens to the rights of landowners and farmers in earmarked and affected mining communities to determine what they want as an economic activity?”