Dr Abukari Salifu Atchulo, a Lecturer and Principal Consultant at Atchulo and Associates, has called on government to reassess the activities of large scale mining companies as they are a contributory factor in the rise of illegal mining activities.
“The problem would not be solved if the large scale mining companies continue to disregard the needs of the indigenes of the area where they operate, and offer meager corporate social responsibility contributions”, he said.
Speaking at a recent meeting with some members of the Odadee 94 Year Group (alumni of the Presbyterian Boys’ Secondary School), Dr Atchulo said the rise in illegal mining activities would not have been a concern if the large scale companies, stuck to their part of the agreement and effectively employed social environment accounting principles in their operations.
He said the diamond sector in the Birim Valley of the Eastern Region is an exception as there are no large scale companies in the sector and small scale legal and illegal miners have been noted to employ illegal and unsustainable methods.
Dr Atchulo said in the gold sector, however, there are four major large scale companies which include: Newmont Mining Corporation, AngloGold Ashanti, Gold Fields Limited and Golden Star Resources; and illegal mining activities is not limited to their operational areas.
But the role they play in their operational areas, he said, informed the activities of illegal miners both within and beyond their operational areas.
Because, Dr Atchulo said, the large scale gold mining companies are not adhering to their expected social responsibility and environmental sustainability roles, government now has the unfortunate burden of shouldering their responsibilities.
In this regard, he said, there is the need to equally scrutinize the activities of large scale companies to ensure that they work within the mandates of the law.
“When you act sustainably, it enhances your business and this should not be a mere public relations stunt as seen on some websites and yet what occurs on the ground is quite different,” Dr Atchulo said.