TROPENBOS Ghana, ARocha Ghana, Friends of the Earth Ghana, advocacy-based NGOs, have embarked on a capacity buildup training for journalists within the Ashanti, Eastern and Greater Accra regions.
The one-day workshop on June 27 was to empower journalists with effective tools in their reportage on forestry and mining issues.
The facilitators, comprising lawyers, environmentalists among others, took participants through both local and international laws governing the activities of mining in Ghana.
Boakye Twumasi Ankrah, Project Coordinator for Tropenbos Ghana, called for stronger collaboration between Civil Society Organizations and journalists to safeguard the environment.
Civil Society groups often blame the Lands Ministry for huge revenue losses in the small-scale mining sector.
According to them, the ministry has failed in its oversight responsibility to ensure proper enforcement of laws.
There are currently eleven laws governing the mining sector including that which allows for the imprisonment of up to 3 years, persons who flout mining regulations.
A total of six billion dollars was recorded in losses in the mining sector within three years.
One of the facilitators, a law Lecturer, Clement Kojo Akapame, who took journalists through Ghana’s forest and mining laws urged parliament to exercise its rights under Article 268 of Ghana’s constitution to effectively scrutinize mining contracts and concessions.
The article empowers parliament to authorize other government agencies to do due diligence on its behalf before approving or rectifying concessions or contracts for exploration and mining of any natural resources of Ghana.
Clement Kojo Akapame said the disregard and blatant breaching of Ghana’s Forest and Mining Laws can only be curtailed if regulatory agencies have the willpower to strictly enforce these laws.
Journalists were taken through the forest and mining laws and how they can be applied.