Living in riches but poor: The paradox of minning communities in Ghana

Living in riches but poor: The paradox of minning communities in Ghana

By an act of God, the country Ghana is blessed with so many mineral resources that are spread across the length and breadth of the country. There is no wonder the country was once called Gold Coast. Numerous towns including Obuasi, Tarkwa, Dunkwa, Awaso, Nsuta, Akwatia are known for precious minerals like gold, bauxite, manganese and diamond.

However, apart from the minerals that are associated with these cities, one cannot fathom what makes them qualify for such accolades. A typical Ghanaian mining community is bedevilled with so many problems. Ironically, whenever issues of mining are brought to the forefront, the sector’s contribution to GDP, the corporate tax paid and level of employment generated are always mentioned as a means of suppressing the various problems caused by the sector. This is not to advocate for preferential treatment for mining communities but to see a facelift of the various towns.

Paradoxically, non-mining communities possess so many amenities that the wealth creating areas are deprived of. A visit to Obuasi which is known for the colossal deposit of gold portrays a stark contrast to the beauty every mining communities ought to be. There are many deep potholes between Anwiankwanta to the golden city of Obuasi making one wonder whether the road is part of the concession earmarked for surface mining. The only showpiece in a town like Obuasi that inhabitants can pride themselves is the workers flat of which the inhabitants do not get direct benefits.

A research by Wassa Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) in 2010 in Obuasi and Tarkwa reveals that 250 river bodies have been polluted through mining activities. According to WACAM the polluted air and water possess serious threats to the health of inhabitants. As a result, diseases including malaria, diarrhoea and typhoid fever are prevalent in most mining communities. Waste disposal is also a major problem in mining communities. The Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 after...

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