12 November 2012

Ghana: Corporate Social Responsibility Not Panacea for Development

The mining industry has, and continues to experience increasing growth, however, the industry is still being publicly accused of not stimulating corresponding beneficial impacts for the country, especially within the local communities that host mines.

But, Dr. Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has explained that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) was not a panacea for development in the communities in which mines operate.

"No country has developed on CSR, however, it is the support of government which helps the communities and the country to develop at large," he added.

He said this at the signing of a CSR Agreement between Golden Star Prestea/Bogoso Limited and the communities in which the company operates within the Wassa Amenfi Traditional Area at Bogoso in the Western Region.

According to him, the industry had and would always be responsible in its CSR amongst all the sectors in the country - 40 percent of the country's foreign exchange comes from this industry.

Mr. Jerry Agala, General Manager of Golden Star Resources, New Century Mine, explained that the signing of the CSR Agreement was between the company and its host communities - there were some disagreements between the company and the communities in which it operates on some aspects of the former's operation.

He said several attempts and efforts by the parties to resolve it failed, and an idea of a third party to mediate and help solve issues was brought on board.

"Professor Daniel Mireku Gyimah, the immediate past Vice Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), an authority in mining related issues, was consulted to moderate in the resolution of the dispute," he said.

He said, as part of the resolution process, a joint committee from both parties was formed to discuss and deliberate on the bothering issues to reach an amicable solution.

He pointed out that the process began in 2010, and after almost two years of deliberations with its associated challenges, a consensus was finally reached, and both parties agreed to endorse these agreements publicly.

"I believe you will all agree with me that the decision to make a public signing to the document is a clear indication that both parties are going to be committed to living to the principles enshrined in the agreement," he added.

Also, he explained that the CSR Agreements comprises of three separate agreements, namely, Relationship and Sustainable Livelihood Agreement, Development Foundation Agreement, and Local Employment Agreement.

These three agreements, he said, set out key principles and directions on how the company and the communities would work together for their mutual benefit.

Mr. Daniel Owiredu, Senior Vice President of Golden Star Resources, expressed hope that the signing of the CSR Agreement would lead to a harmonious society, devoid of acrimony and misunderstandings.

He commended the mediation committee, led by Prof. Daniel Mireku Gyimah, for bringing both parties to an agreement. "I wish to re-assure our valued local stakeholders that the company will be committed to fulfilling its part of the agreement."

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