The chief of the Sherigu traditional area, in the Bolgatanga Municipality of the Upper East Region, Naba Aluman Thomas Apasinaba II is questioning the rationale behind the government’s reluctance to issue a Community Mining Scheme (CMS) licence for the community members to mine gold in the community.
Large deposits of gold were found over 2 decades in the Sherigu community. Sadly, efforts by the community members to acquire licences in line with the government’s quest to encourage locals living in mining communities to undertake responsible mining have proven futile.
The Chief of Sherigu expressed his dissatisfaction, stating that the government should prioritise the locals and give them the opportunity to benefit from the mineral resources in their own community.
Naba Afayure Akazire, Chief of Dorongo who spoke on behalf of the Sherigu Naba emphasised that granting mining licences to non-indigenous individuals deprives the community of much-needed revenue and development opportunities.
“We have people, even youth who are capable of going into community mining because it is preserved by the community. And why is it that all these years we are not getting indigenes from the community getting a licence but rather an outsider, who is not coming from the community has been given a licence to come and do mining in our community,” Naba Afayure lamented.
His remarks come after the community members in the year 2019 started the process to acquire a licence from the government through the Mineral Commission which has not yielded results until a private mining company known as Youwerei Natural Resources owned by former professional Ghanaian footballer 2020 obtained a small-scale licence to mine gold in the community.
The Chief bemoaned the situation saying the government’s desire to promote local interest in responsible mining cannot be achieved when capable community members are
denied licence to mine gold.
He made this call in the Sherigu community during a day community sensitization forum on the rights and responsibilities of mining communities under the Minerals and Mining Policies and Laws of Ghana, ECOWAS and Africa, organised by the Northern Patriots in Research and Advocacy (NORPRA), a civil society organisation.
Naba Afayure called on the government to prioritise the locals and grant them Community Mining Scheme licences. He highlighted the benefits of empowering the community, such as increased revenue, development opportunities, and responsible mining practices.
The clarion call made by the chief points out that the lack of involvement of the locals in mining activities in other parts of the country has led to increased conflicts and tensions. This occurs when non-indigenous miners often face resistance from the community, resulting in confrontations and violence.