Negative reportage scares away investors

• shows the steel bridge alleged to have been destroyed by the company.

The Minerals Commission has appealed to Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to do thorough investigations before putting out their reports, since any inaccurate information could scare away potential investors from the country.

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According to the commission, negative reports and unsubstantiated allegations made about the mining sector by some CSOs did not only scare away investors from the country but also cast Ghana in a bad light before the international community.

The acting Director, Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Division of the Minerals Commission, Dr Richard Kofi Afenu, made the appeal when he led a fact-finding team to Sheini, a farming community in the Tatale-Sangule District in the Northern Region, to investigate some allegations levelled against a mining company prospecting for iron ore in the area through a publication by some CSOs.

Findings

One of the key facts that was established during the visit was that actual mining of the iron ore in the area has not started, contrary to a publication authored by three CSOs, namely Rural Media Network (RUMENET), Media Advocates For Sustainable Environment (MASE) and KASA Ghana.


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Granting of licence 

The commission in 2011 granted a prospecting licence jointly to a Canadian and Ghanaian company, Cardero Ghana Limited and Emmaland Resource Limited respectively, to prospect for iron ore in the Sheini Hills.

Work was, however, suspended after the community claimed there had not been proper consultations by the company.

The people also raised some concerns including allegations of destruction of their farms and a steel bridge linking the community and the pollution of their source of drinking water. These were subsequently published by the three CSOs.

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Meeting With Stakeholders

At a meeting with the chiefs, opinion leaders and people of the community at Sheini in the presence of representatives of the three CSOs, it was established that actual mining for the iron ore had not started and also their source of drinking water had not been polluted as alleged in their publications.

It, however, emerged that the company never paid compensation for the destruction of some farms, portions of a teak plantation and a steel bridge linking the community to the district capital when the company was constructing a road to the hills to begin the exploration work. 

Appeal 

The Chief of Sheini, Obore Chamaya Poadi, said they were not against the work by the company, since it would provide employment for the youth of the area but their concerns were the lack of consultations between them and the company, which raised a lot of suspicions.

He, therefore, called for further collaborations and the payment of compensation to those whose farms were destroyed. The chief also admonished the company to repair the steel bridge as a matter of urgency before the onset of the rains this year.

Response

Dr Afenu gave an assurance that the commission would continue to play its role effectively to ensure that mining companies operated in a manner that would not impact negatively on communities.

Mr Abdallah Kasim, on behalf of the three CSOs, explained that the publication was not to stifle the activities of the mining companies but to ensure that their activities did not impact negatively on the community and that they were only articulating the concerns of the people.

Sheini, a farming community located at the Eastern flank of the Tatale-Sangule District in the Northern Region, shares border with the Western part of Togo.

The area is rich in iron ore deposits that are yet to be mined.