A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has called on mining communities to provide the providential and conducive environment necessary for the smooth operationalisation of licensed mining companies in their respective dispensations.
According to him, there must be a shared responsibility between the communities and the companies where minerals are discovered with the fundamental goal being the creation of impactful projects from the exploitation of the resources.
During a working tour of Asanko Mining Company yesterday, Mr Duker observed that while the companies owe a duty to invest in the areas and contribute to the economic and social empowerment of the residents, the communities also have an obligation to put in place measures that will ensure the maximization of the investment of the companies.
He believes that when both parties fulfill their duties, success becomes the result for both the companies and the communities.
To this end, he urged mining companies to make community engagement a key feature of their operations as it keeps them abreast with the needs and challenges of the companies and how they can help alleviate those challenges.
He also recommended ceding off concessions for Community Mining purposes as one of the ways of enhancing the relationship between the companies and the communities.
Mr Mireku Duker further hammered on the crucial role of local content participation in companies as it helps the communities feel a part of the company and therefore act in ways that enhance the development and growth of the company.
On the communities, he charged them to use alternative dispute resolution mechanisms to register their grievances instead of resorting to violence or other illegal methods.
He proposed that communities can help companies deal with the illegal mining menace by volunteering information and ensuring that persons who engage in such acts are dealt with by the law.
“We always urge companies to cede off parts of their concessions for community mining. That could in a way help them prevent the communities from invading. Communities and companies must co-exist. We must find a way of ensuring that communities and companies co-exist,” he said.
In his presentation, Dr. Charles Amoah, the Managing Director of Asanko Mines described the visit of the Deputy Minister and his entourage as an indication of government’s keen interest in his outfit’s operations.
He outlined some of the challenges the company has encountered in the past few years and explained that they have turned the curve and are now making some steady progress.
He believes that with the cooperation of the Ministry, some of the challenges which are yet to be addressed will be surmounted.