Upper West Chiefs against 28 gold mining concessions

Members of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs are against the granting of 28 mineral concessions of various categories to large scale companies to mine for gold in the Upper West Region.

The chiefs led by the acting president of the Upper West Regional House of Chiefs, Kuoro Richard Babini Kanton at a meeting in Wa explained that residence already live in a fragile ecosystem and are faced with environmental problems in northern Ghana which includes advancing desertification, annual floods, droughts, depleting soils and vegetation cover.

Between February 2005 and January 2013, a total of 28 mineral concessions covering about 31 percent of the regions land size  have been issued to large scale mining companies with majority of the being Australian mining companies.

The chiefs noted with sadness that most of these concessions were actually granted without the involvement and consultations of traditional authorities.

Singling out the operations of Azumah resources limited, the chiefs said their operations have been a source of worry to the affected communities and their leadership, both traditional and formal.

They stated that since the advent of reconnaissance, prospecting and exploration work by large mining companies in the region, they have witnessed the highest incidence of illegal mining. As a result of that land, water, agriculture, sacred natural sites and young boys and girls in communities such as Charikpong, Danyorkorkurah are being destroyed.

”Most of these communities have since not known peace with the increasing crime and deteriorating social cohesion”.

The House of Chiefs revealed that they have been inundated with countless complaints from groups and individuals concerning the negative effects of mining in the region.

They have therefore been compelled by the rising tension between communities and companies in the areas affected by mining in the region to intervene in the matter.

They called on the Minister of Lands, Forestry and Mines to as a matter of urgency place a moratorium on the operation of mining companies in the region. 

The concluded saying that there are committed and open to resume discussion towards arriving at a collective, open and informed process in determining the development need of the region and whether mining is one of them at all.

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