The Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, Hon. Amidu Issahaku Chinnia, has called out the Minerals Commission (MC) for being lackadaisical in their approach in sensitizing residents to the activities of mining companies in the region; particularly Azumah Resources Limited.
Hon. Chinnia blamed the continuous misunderstanding and mistrust between some chiefs and their communities and Azumah Resources Limited on the Commission’s inability to dutifully execute its mandate.
Speaking at a stakeholder’s forum at Wa on the 1st of March 2018, to discuss the activities of Azumah Resources in the region, the Deputy Minister opined that the neutral intermediary role that the Minerals Commission is supposed to play has been absent over the years saying “the Commission should do more, than what you [Minerals Commission] are doing now because you are a neutral arbiter in this whole matter. There is some amount of mistrust between Azumah Resources and the communities.”
He continued to say that “as a neutral arbiter, you are supposed to bring out the issues clearly so that our people get a better understanding of what is happening on the ground. [This is] because, Azumah Resources as a company that is investing money; when they bring their side of the issues, it may not go down well with the communities. As a neutral arbiter who understands the issues well, you should do more.”
Hon. Chinnia was unhappy that the Minerals Commission would expect communities to make formal complaints on issues of compensation by the mining company before the Commission takes action.
The Deputy Minister explained that in a case where community members are ignorant of the benefits they can get from mining companies, the mining companies would take undue advantage of the people to the detriment of the community and the environment.
Mr. Chinnia expressed disappointment in the approach of the Commission saying the “Commission is not doing the region any good service because there are a lot of things you [Minerals Commission] sit on. There is so much confusion between Azumah Resources and the chiefs and it is not helping the region.”
Azumah Resources Limited is an exploration company focused on the highly prospective areas in the Upper West Region.
The organization currently has three Prospecting Licenses (PL) and one Mining Lease (ML).