Free Prior and Informed Consent Process Must Be Fully Implemented —Study

Research by the Dean of the School for Development Studies, University of Cape Coast (UCC), Dr Emmanuel Yamoah Tenkorang, and Dr Yaw Asamoah of the University of Education, Winneba has stressed the need for the Free, Prior And Informed Consent (FPIC) process to be implemented fully by project proponents.
According to the study, this will provide mining communities with adequate and factual information about any mining or oil exploration project, which will also enable them to either give or refuse their consent freely.

Dr Asamoah made the assertion on Friday, August 13, 2021, in Koforidua, Eastern Region, while giving a presentation on the research findings on “Onshore Petroleum Exploration in Ghana: A Study On Community Rights.”

The one-day workshop organised by Wacam on community participation and local content issues in the mining, oil and gas space brought together media practitioners from across the country.

It also discussed findings on “Exploring Local Content Potential for the Participation in Gold and Oil and Gas Exploitation in Ghana: A Case of Tano North and Nkoranza South Municipalities” and “Gaps in Our Mining Sector Laws and Policies.”

Dr Asamoah explained that in situations where people’s properties or crops were going to be destroyed by the project, the proponents should negotiate and come to an agreement with the owners/ farmers before the property or crops were actually destroyed.

In a presentation on gaps in the mining sector laws and policies, the Associate Director of Wacam, Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, strongly advocated the need to develop guidelines for active participation of mining communities in the processes of review, formulating and development of the mining sector policies and legal framework.

“The need for transparency in all the procedures leading to acquisition and grant of mineral rights and at each stage of the decision making process was important,” she urged.

The acquisition of mineral rights, she indicated, should include the participation of host communities and also be based on the principle of FPIC.

On compensation, she said it should take into consideration the loss of livelihoods, especially when women suffer a lot when forests area lost.

To this end, the associate executive director of Wacam said it was imperative that appropriate alternative livelihood packages were developed to curb women's unemployment in affected mining communities.

“Such activities should be funded by a minimum of 30% of the Mineral Development Fund allocation to the mining districts taking into account women who lost their livelihoods from surface mining,” she said.