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Sheini residents unhappy about mining companies activities

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Residents at Sheini, a farming community in the Tatale/Sanguli district in the northern region are up in arms about iron exploration in the area.

Even though mining activities have been halted for some time now, community members have vowed not to speak to any organizations involved in mining activities.

Their decision follows threats they said they have received from exploration mining companies ever since iron ore deposit was discovered in large quantities in Sheini in 2010.

Associate Executive Director of the Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining --WACAMP -- a civil society organization, Ms Hannah Owusu-Koranteng disclosed this to the media during the presentation of a study report conducted by a consortium of nongovernmental organizations working in mining communities.

The 87 report chronicles water, health and economy activities among others challenges facing Sheini and four other communities.

According to the report, 56% of respondents on the effects of mining say it destroyed their farmlands while 44% say it destroyed their forest reserves.

'They didn't grant us audience to find out the issues as part of our study even though we followed all the right community entering process through Chiefs' palaces," she explained.

This was after WACAMP had done some sensitization forums on surface mining in the community.

She told journalists that communities where mining activities take place have a right to safe drinking water that must be respected by companies. Sheini, she said, has an iron ore potential of 1.3billion tonnes worth which can be explored for 100 years.

However, treatment meted out to mining communities compelled them to take an entrenched position in commenting on their problems before stakeholders.

A global Canadian mining company, Cardero Ghana Limited was granted a license to explore the Sheini Iron Ore in 2012 after emerging winners out of 12 companies who competed for bids to win exploration at Sheini.

Cardero with its local partner-Emmaland Ghana Limited started exploring for iron ore admits threats which angered communities. Members of the communities, according to Mr Francis, complained about the pollution of their source of water which is situated under Sheini Hills where surface mining for iron ore deposit is taking place.

But Ms Hannah said mining companies depend so much on water for their activities and doing so pollute communities sources of drinking water. She added that colonial Colonial masters formulated bills or laws for mining sector in Africa which are disadvantaging the ordinary citizens.

"Gradually, Ghanaians will become underdogs, a day will come when foreigners will take over Ghana because we have created an avenue for that," Ms Hannah Owusu-Koretng lamented.

It takes more than a thousand half years to clean polluted water and no citizens seems to be sleeping and the government who the people placed so much hope in is not living up to its responsibility to protect the people.

The WACAM associate director, observed the mining act for Africa was structured in way that indigenes suffered to the advantage of foreign mining companies and the roads to the Sheini community are just terrible

The Sheini Hills Iron Ore concessions are situated in the eastern part of the northern region, close to the border with Togo and approximately 400 kilometres north east of Accra and 160 kilometres east of Tamale.

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