Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a Civil Society Organisation, has commended the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for ordering the immediate closure of all illegal mining pits in the Gbane mining community in the Talensi District in the Upper East Region.
NORPRA made the commendation in a press release issued and signed by its Executive Director, Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, and copied to the media in Bolgatanga.
It would be recalled that following the deaths of 16 young men that occurred in one of the mining pits in the area on January 23, 2019, the sector minister tasked the Inspectorate Division of the Mineral Commission to investigate the cause of the accident and give appropriate recommendations.
NORPRA, which is engaged in research and advocacy for responsible and sustainable mining in northern Ghana, also called for the immediate prosecution of those whose names were mentioned in the report findings to have caused the calamity that resulted in the loss of the16 lives.
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According to the statement, the compliance and enforcement of the directive would help avert recurrences of mining- related calamities and loss of precious lives in the area.
It, however, entreated the ministry to go beyond the directive by recommending more punitive sanctions against those behind illegal mining activities in the country.
While calling for substantial compensations to be paid to families of the deceased, NORPRA also urged development partners in the extractive sector to partner it to build the capacity of people in mining communities in northern Ghana for effective monitoring and reporting on activities of mining companies in those communities.
“Building the capacity of the people would not only help to prevent the communities from being short-changed by mining companies, but would also ensure that their rights were duly respected and protected,” the statement added.