Bolgatanga, June 12, GNA – Mr Bismark Adongo Ayorogo, the Executive Director of the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), says establishing Mining Community Development Schemes (MCDS) in mining areas will contribute significantly to the reduction of poverty and hunger for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
He said the passage of the Minerals Development Fund Act provides opportunity for communities and civil society groups working in mining communities to engage relevant state institutions to demand the establishment of the MCDS.
“This will undoubtedly rake in significant amount of resources to effectively finance sustainable livelihood programmes for socio-economic transformation of the mining communities to address poverty and deprivation”.
Mr Ayorogo in a signed statement copied to the Ghana News Agency in Bolgatanga, indicated that in light of the benefits of the MCDS, his outfit joined the Coalition of Social Movements on Mining (CSMM) in the Upper East Region to advocate the need to establish MCDS in every mining community in Ghana beginning with communities in the Talensi District of the Region.
The Executive Director said in spite of policy frameworks of the Africa Union, ECOWAS and Ghana, “It is regrettable to note that the policies have not impacted much on the lives of mining communities in the country.
“What is visible in mining communities across the country is extreme poverty, deprivation and general under-development.”
He added that it was worrying that instead of mining activities in communities to contribute to the social and economic development of the communities, mining was rather contributing to violent conflicts, pollution and many other social vices.
Mr Ayorogo said the MCDS sought to “facilitate socio-economic development of communities in which mining activities are undertaken and those affected by mining operations.”
He noted that sources of funds for the Scheme were stated in Section 18 of the Act as mining royalties being 20 per cent of the Minerals Development Fund (MDF) at the national level, while donations by mining companies and related business entities, grants, gifts and other voluntary contributions were also expected to be made.
Management of the scheme shall be by a Local Management Committee which, according to Section 19 of the Act comprises the District Chief Executive, traditional ruler of the mining community, one representative of the District Office of the Minerals Commission, mining company, identified women’s group and identified youth group in the community.
The Executive Director said government further introduced Community Mining Programme to promote community participation in the mining industry aimed at increasing communities’ share of the mineral wealth and other social and economic benefits that mining promised for improved livelihoods.
“Strongly determined to ensure mining activities under the Community Mining Programme are carried out in a very responsible and sustainable manner, the government has already mobilized and trained a good number of interested members of mining communities across the country, to acquire the needed technical skills for a successful programme.”