WACAM empowers Sheini residents ahead of iron ore mining

Surface mining will soon commence on the iron ore deposit found in large quantities on the Sheini Hills in the Tatale-Sanguli District of the Northern Region.

Cardero Resources Company Limited in partnership with a Ghanaian mining firm called Emmaland Resources Limited in 2012, started exploration on the iron ore deposit found at the Sheini Hills.

It is against this backdrop that WACAM has empowered residents of the Sheini community to demand social auditing and accountability from companies prepared to commence surface mining on the Sheini Hills.

Following several capacity building workshops and community visits, WACAM and its allies produced a baseline report on the prospects of the iron ore deposit found on the Sheini Hills.

The baseline report has revealed that smallholder farmers whose farmlands were destroyed during the exploration are yet to be compensated.

Analyzing the baseline report at a validation workshop in Sheini, the Associate Executive Director of WACAM, Hannah Owusu-Koranteng in a Citi News, interview on the sidelines said the report sought to evaluate the existing physical, economic and socio-cultural benchmark of the community ahead of any surface mining activities.

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She added that the report is aimed at empowering the Sheini residents to defend their fundamental human rights during the surface mining activities.

The report revealed that the Sheini community’s physical environment was good for mining. It however exposed the pollution of water bodies during exploration by Emmaland and Cardero Resources.

According to the report, the polluted water bodies caused the prevalence of dysentery, diarrhea and malaria in the area.

The chiefs and people of Sheini and its adjoining communities commended WACAM for the orientation.

They acknowledged the impact of the capacity building workshops and said they were well-informed about the benefits of mining.

They vowed to resist any mining activities there unless they are assured of social facilities such as school blocks, clinics, quality roads and clean water.

They complained about the only bridge linking Sheini to other satellite communities which was damaged by heavy duty vehicles during the exploration.

WACAM is spearheading the campaign in collaboration with the Centre for Public Interest Law,  the Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis and the Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP).

By: Abdul Karim Naatogmah/citifmonline.com/Ghana

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