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Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Balancing act: resettling communities and mining

Laws regulating the resettlement of communities for mining projects are often not clear enough to avoid problems that could delay or even threaten the mine’s sustainability.

This is according to Robert Gyamfi, community relations and social responsibility manager at Golden Star (Bogoso/Prestea), a subsidiary of Golden Star Resources in Ghana, a mining company operating in Ghana. “Where minerals are discovered on or near a place where people are already living, governments face the difficult task of resettling communities to make way for mining. As custodians of a country’s mineral rights, governments have the right and duty to make these arrangements so that the mineral wealth can be turned into economic development,” Gyamfi says.

He stressed that the host communities granted mining companies a ‘social licence’ to operate, which went beyond simply meeting all the legal needs set by the host country.

Gyamfi was interviewed in Johannesburg recently when he attended the Community Relations Practice course offered by Synergy Global and Wits University’s Centre for Sustainability in Mining and Industry.