“Mining is a temporal activity and all lands leased for such purposes must be reclaimed to ensure that they can be used for every purpose again, particularly farming activities and therefore it must be of utmost concern to the people in affected communities.”
Mr Felix Addo-Okyireh, Eastern Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), said mining must be seen as a developmental project, to advance the cause of Communities and not to make them worse off.
He gave the advice at a public hearing on the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) statement for a proposed Gold and Diamond mining and processing project at Topremang in the Dekyembuor district of the Eastern Region.
The public hearing is in accordance with the EIA procedure to offer the affected Communities and interested parties the opportunity to express their opinions and grievances for redress as well as solicit support for the project among others.
The EPA is mandated by LI 1652 of the EPA Act 1994, to ensure compliance in planning and execution of all development activities including mining to promote environmentally sound and sustainable development projects before a permit is granted.
The Cayco Ghana limited has proposed to do alluvial mining of diamond and gold on a 16.07 square kilometre concession land at Topremang bordering other farming Communities such as Abepotia and Adankrono.
Mr Felix Agyeman, Mining Engineer of Cayco Ghana limited in a briefing on the project description, indicated that the proposed mining method will be a strip method consisting of vegetation clearance, topsoil stripping and stockpiling.
He said the company made adequate measures to ensure that water bodies and farmlands were not contaminated with chemicals in their operations.
“We have also made adequate provisions for post-processing activities to ensure the safety of the Communities as well as reclamation, he added.
Barima Adomako Nyarko, chief of Topremang recalled that over 700 acres of land were leased to Cayco London limited, somewhere in 1935 for mining purposes of which the lease had been renewed recently adding that “we didn’t benefit from anything”.
He called on the Minerals Commission to involve chiefs in decision making with respect to granting of mining leases and permits to ensure transparency in the process and full participation of the people.
He challenged Cayco Ghana limited to do further engagements and consultations with the chiefs in the affected Communities for clarity.
“As it stands we are not convinced of how we will benefit from this project considering the issues raised by my people” he added.
During the open forum, members of the three Communities gathered aired their grievances on claims that mining in the area had not inured to their benefit over the years and therefore wanted further engagements to establish concrete agreements with the firm.