A research on exploring local content for participation in gold and gas exploitation in Ghana has charged government and mining companies to offer training, especially the youth in mining communities, across the country.
This, according to the research, will enable them take advantage of the opportunities created by mining in their localities
The Dean of School for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr Emmanuel Yamoah Tenkorang, made the observation after presenting his research findings on “Exploring Local Content Potential For Participation in Gold and Gas Exploitation in Ghana: A Case of Tano North and Nkoranza South Municipalities,” on Friday, August 13, 2021, at a media workshop in Koforidua, Eastern Region
The one-day media workshop on community participation and local content issues in the mining, oil and gas space was organised by Wacam.
It also discussed research findings on “Onshore Petroleum Exploration in Ghana: A Study On Community Rights by Dr Yamoah Tenkorang and Dr Yaw Asamoah of University of Education, Winneba.
In addition to training, Dr Yamoah Tenkorang urged government and the mining companies to also invest in education in mining communities.
This will ensure that the youth in mining get the requisite qualifications to be meaningfully engaged by mining companies, he said.
“It will further help them to build their capacities and gain experience,” he noted.
He said traditional authorities in mining communities also have a role to play in ensuring that their youth take education seriously.
He said his research identified that though Newmont Ghana Gold Limited was developing its Ahafo North Gold Pit in the Tano North municipality, the district was new to the opportunities and challenges in gold extraction.
…therefore the potential for local content participation and the activities to be undertaken to realise this will be germane,” he stressed.
According to him, about 98% of respondents agreed to work in the mining industry, if they are offered the appropriate training.
Their reasons, he said, included good salary and employment opportunity.
The UCC lecturer said local content participation was the best route to preventing conflicts in mining communities.
“This is because this approach [local content participation] will lead to job creation, development of local businesses, and more importantly, help build local skills and improve technologies,” he said.
However, a joint research carried out by Dr Asamoah and Dr Yamoah Tenkorang on “Onshore Petroleum Exploration In Ghana: A Study On Community Rights” warned that undertaking oil exploration in the Voltaian basin which covers six adjoining regions including the Northern Region will bring challenges to local communities and their livelihood activities.
Giving the presentation, Dr Asamoah said the basin harbours the “food basket” regions of the country, including Nkoranza North, Nkoranza South, and Atebubu Amantin districts.
“…exploration may undermine the principle of Free Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) and public participation,” the study added.
According to the study, GNPC’s entry into Tano North for oil exploration activities contravened the Local Governance Act of 2016 (Act 936) section 3 (a, b &c).
This, the study explained, was because the district assemblies were not informed and involved in the process, adding that the Bono East Regional Coordinating Council’s involvement was also “sketchy”.
For his part, the Executive Director of Wacam, Mr Daniel Owusu-Koranteng, entreated the media not to relent in its efforts to ensure that living standards in mining communities are improved.
He said it was sad that in the midst of the country’s rich natural resources, the sight of our mining communities was nothing to write home about.