TALENSI:Mining communities demand compensation from Chinese firm
Mining communities in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region, are demanding compensation from the Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, a subsidiary of China Gold Resources Group Company Limited, which is mining in the area.
The Gbane, Datuku, Yale communities, who made the demand at a stakeholder meeting organized by the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a civil society organization, indicated that apart from the activities of the mining company displacing them of their farmland lands, most of the economic tree such as sheanut and “dawada” among others trees which they depended on for their livelihoods, had been cleared off.
Mrs Mba Ma Bolinze, a 39-year old woman said, ”we as women groups used to pick bags of sheanuts and dawada including other economic fruits from the large tracks of lands where the mining company had cleared and putting in place their plant, office and staff accommodation.
“We used to either sell the sheanuts or process them into sheabutter for sales but we cannot longer do that. This has disempowered us economically and we can no longer cater for our children particularly in their schooling which we used to do easily”.
Most of the participants whose farmlands were affected said they no longer had any better livelihoods and found it difficult to cater for their family particularly paying the school fees of their wards.
“Most of us have withdrawn our children from Senior High Schools because we can no longer sell the farm produce which we used to get money from to pay the fees,” they emphasized.
The communities are also demanding that the two schools close to the mining area be relocated by the company since the mining activities affect teaching and learning in addition to its attendant health implication.
“The noise of the blasting by the company and the movements of the heavy vehicles create a lot of noise and usually affect teaching and learning,” they noted.
They regretted the high dropout rate of school children and poor academic performance in the area as a result of mining activities and suggested that the District Assembly, chiefs and school management committees, should come out with a by-law to outlaw children below the age of 18 from mining, adding that a tax force committee should be formed to perform that responsibility.
The participants stressed the need for the mining company to ensure that they managed their activities very well to avoid the pollution of their drinking water sources such as rivers and streams.
Mr Cletus Anaaya, Area Manager of Afrikids in charge of Bolgatanga, who schooled the participants on child rights, told them that it was wrong for them to allow their children, who should have been in school, to be engaged in mining activities.
He impressed upon parents not to victimize their children by always shouting on them but to allow them the freedom to also participate in decision making process when it came to family matters.
“Parents who will be caught manhandling children particularly hiding children with disability indoors will not be spared by the law”, he warned.