|NCOM HOLDS 4TH FORUM IN PRESTEA|
|Written by Kwesi W Obeng|
|Wednesday, 26 October 2011 15:30|
The 4th national campaign forum of the National Coalition on Mining (NCOM) has been held in Prestea in the Prestea-Huni-Valley District of the Western Region.
The forum, held on October 19, under the theme ‘Ten Years of Collective Advocacy: Mobilising for Reforms’, attracted representatives from communities affected by mining across all major mining concession areas in Ghana including communities affected by the country’s emerging oil and gas industry.
Participants exchanged information on the mining industry including developments in their specific communities and sought clarifications on state policies.
The MP for the Prestea-Huni Valley area, Francis Adu-Blay Koffie challenged NCOM to intensify their advocacy in the Coalition’s bid to improve the quality of live for communities affected by mining and the benefits of the industry to the larger Ghanaian economy.
The Prestea-Huni Valley area has one of the highest concentrations of small-scale mining in the country. Major multinational mining corporations operating in the area includes Goldfields Ghana Limited.
Over the decade, mining contributed between 8-12 per cent to government revenue, a mere two per cent to employment and about five per cent to Ghana’s GDP, a contribution activists and now government agree is insignificant given the scale of destruction and damage that mining related activities inflict on the environment, the huge tax rebates mining companies enjoy and the relatively high price of minerals.
The 2010 national forum was organized in Obuasi, home of Anglogold-Ashanti. Obuasi is one of the oldest and richest goldmines in Ghana. Ghana is the second largest gold producer in Africa.
NCOM was established in 2001 in response to the specific problem of cyanide spillage of Goldfields Ghana Limited at Abekoase near Tarkwa, a major mining town.
The Coalition has since its creation a decade ago, remained a vibrant collaborative framework and platform for collective community voice, resistance and alternatives. NCOM has been at the forefront of the national debate to revise the country’s mining regimes and standards and advocacy to improve human rights conditions in mining affected communities.
However, with the exception of the MP for Prestea Huni-Valley, senior government and public officials invited to the forum failed to turn up. At the 2010 forum the officials of the Ghana Minerals Commission represented the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. At the 2009 forum organized at Akoti also in the Western Region, Dr Omane Boafo, deputy Minister of Environment represented government and fielded questions from forum participants.
NCOM is a grouping of NGOs, communities and individuals engaged in mining sector advocacy.
© By Kwesi W. Obeng
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