WACAM, a human rights and mining advocacy organisation has advocated the formulation of a policy to regulate mining operations in the country.
Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of WACAM, said the policy should take into consideration the values and culture of the communities where mining actives would take place.
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng was speaking at a roundtable for political parties, faith based organisations, media and civil society organisations on Environmental and Mining issues for peaceful Elections in 2012 in Accra on Wednesday.
She said Ghana has been effective in creating a favourable business environment for mining investment but failed to regulate surface mining operations.
She said surface mining is classified as a major polluting industry and require strong regulations due to its negative economic, environmental, cultural and social effect.
“Ghana’s current economic growth rate is put at 14.3 per cent, with its contribution to gross domestic product at six per cent accounts for 40 per cent of foreign exchange earnings of the country,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng noted that notwithstanding these benefits, surface mining is associated with conflicts, pollution of water bodies, health risks, environmental degradation, livelihood losses and displacement of communities.
She said mining in Ghana is not incorporated in any developmental plan and lacks comprehensive policy.
“Mining laws allows indigenous lands and socio-cultural systems to suffer due to the open cast mining and its correlation with the destruction.”
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng said liberalisation in the mining sector had generally led to a decrease in employment partly as a result of new technologies.
Mr Boakye Dankwa Boadi, a facilitator at the event, told the Ghana News Agency that the media has the responsibility to hold political leaders accountable over issues on environmental degradation.
He called on the media to collaborate effectively with WACAM to continue to sensitise the public on the dangers of mining operation in communities.
Some of the participants were of the view that politicians must demonstrate political will to be able to address the challenges of environmental degradation.
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