- Enhancing The Capacities Of Mining Communities For Accountable And Transparent Natural Resoure Governance In Northern Ghana
- Mobilizing, Building Partnerships And Capacities For Transparent And Responsible Natural Resource Governance In Northern Ghana
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Executive Director Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) Lawyer. Augustine Niber has taken a group of Civil Society and Community based Organizations and individuals from the 5 regions of the north through extensive legal training on mining laws, regulations, and policies.
Engaging with the media, during a 2 days Paralegal training workshop organized by TAMA Foundation Universal for Members of Community Action Groups in Northern Ghana under NaRAING phase 2 project, Lawyer Niber expressed that the programme is to provide participants with a basic overview of the law that governs the mining sector.
“It was geared towards looking at how Gold, particularly as a resource in the country, the legal laws governing this resource, and how mineral applications are made. Particularly, we tried to reiterate that gold or any form of Natural resource or mineral that is found is vested in the President on behalf of the people of Ghana and that harnessing these resources is to be geared towards the overall development and benefits of these communities”.
Explaining further he said, the communities were taken through the Mineral and mining act particularly Act 703 and the provisions related to the Act, and also, “we looked more specifically at the issue of the revenue stream as provided under the Mineral and Mining Act, how those resources are generated and the fact that a legal regime is the one that governs the amount of physical resources we get from the operations of the mining sector”.
“We also looked to a larger extent the benefits that accrue for the mining companies and the benefits that accrue to the government at large and we zero it down specifically to issue of compensation as a basic requirement under the law, that before a company goes unto a land that belongs to a community, individual or a family that the entry of into the land is subject to the payment of compensation. Then, we had the opportunity to closely look at issues of compensation, the principles that guide the determination of compensation”.
According to Lawyer Niber, what was important, is to let participants know that in times of determination of compensation, it is through negotiations between the owner or lawful occupier and that of the mineral lands holder and this is to be done and where there is any disagreement, a reference should be made to the Minister for the first attempt to be solved before any attempt to seek another judicial process in resolving the level of compensation that is due the people.
“So generally, the programme is intended to equip them basically with the aspect of the laws and regulations that govern the minerals and the mining sector and to better equip them within their communities to look out to many of the issues that arise in these mining-related communities”.
And very importantly, an attempt is to try to prevent the issues of mining-related conflict that occur in other areas from happening in the communities and usually, it is at the inception stages of mining that creates most of the legacy issues and issues that bring about conflict. And once a community or group of people are knowledgeable about the law, at least they are able to ensure that the entry requirements and any other related mining issues are addressed at the early stage.
Participants who spoke to Apexnewsgh.com, could not hide their joy, they extended their gratitude to TAMA Foundation Universal, CEPIL, and Ford Foundation, especially for the education they received during the training workshop.
One of the participants from Bongo District of the Upper East Region Hon. Philemond Ataba, Assembly member for Soe Tamolga Electoral Area said, he enjoyed the training because his community Bongo Soe is one of the community’s things are going on wrongly and community members are not happy about it.
“We have learned a lot of things that will guide us as a community to work with these small-scale miners. There are some laws Lawyer Niber mentioned when he was presenting especially with compensation and now, we understood some of the activities”. He said
Osman Kanton Luriwe, Executive Director, ASUDEV, said the workshop has been very significant, he expressed satisfaction for being part of the paralegal training on mining which will their communities.
“Where I come from, the Sisaala Area there is no particular mining company operating there but we have a few illegal mining activities going on in some communities. But once we have minerals there, it means there is a possibility that in the near future, some mining licenses may be issued and the training we have undergone today has given me enough information about mining laws in this country, about the rights of communities in term of their engagement with government for the release of area for mining”.
The acting President of the Upper East Youth Association Adingo Francis described the paralegal training workshop as an eye-opener.
“With what we have learned today, is a great eye-opener for us and I just pray that we implement it in our communities. Because we realized that companies are coming into our various communities and all we see, is that opinion leaders like the chiefs, the DCE, and the Assemblyman are the beneficiaries but, if you go into the community the people that the activities of these mining companies affect there is nothing for them.
“Per the laws we have seen, in this 21st century, we shouldn’t have those laws again in our books. Because, per what is currently in the book, it was made to give more incentives to foreign companies because of their technical know-how. But yet, the resources are with us. You can imagine depending on a portion of land where your house is, where you farm and all of a sudden they say the lands and the minerals are all vested in the hands of the President in trust for the people. I think the people that draft the constitution did that thinking we will have good leaders who think about the people but at the end of the day is the opposite”. He stressed
“Look at the percentage that goes to the country as a whole, is nothing to write home about and for 30 years of parliamentary democracy, we were thinking that there should be some amendments to the laws so that at least, it will reflect modern-day community activities”. Mr. Adingo expressed
Nadia Ramatu, a committee member of a Small scale mining company known as Dollar Power a mining company in the Bole District of the Savannah Region said, she learned a lot to share with the people of Savannah when she returned home.
According, to Ms. Ramatu, she has gained knowledge on how to handle issues regarding compensation and resettling of people in the community.
She further expressed gratitude to the organizers of the workshop.
Engaging the media, the Chief Operating Officer of TAMA Foundation Universal Jonathan Adabre Akatue, said the training workshop is in collaboration with the Centre for Public Interest Law and funding support from Ford Foundation to carry out a two-day training workshop for 50 participants from select mining communities in seven districts in the five regions of Northern Ghana. “These are Bongo District and Bolgatanga Municipal in the Upper East Region, Sissala East and West Districts in the Upper West Region, the Mamrugu Moagduri District in the North East Region, Tatale in Northern Region, and Bole in the Savanna Region.
Outlining the workshop objectives, Mr. Adebre pointed out that the objectives:
- To improve the knowledge and capacity of Community Action Group (CAG) members on mining laws, policies, and regulations in Ghana
- To improve the advocacy and communication skills of CAG members
- To sensitize CAG members on the roles and responsibilities of state agencies, mining companies, traditional and authorities local in mining in Ghana
- Facilitate formation and working relations of CAG members
However, he noted these three points below are the expected outputs after the project.
Seven CAGs were formally established in seven mining districts in the five regions of Northern Ghana
- mining districts in the five regions of Northern Ghana
- Fifty (50) CAG members trained as paralegals.
- Networking and Working relationships amongst CAG members and TAMA Foundation established.