Burkina Faso: Ougadougou urges mining firms to help beat poverty
Ougadougou urges mining firms to help beat poverty
Burkina Faso Prime Minister Luc Adolphe Tiao called on foreign mining companies active in the country to do more to help alleviate poverty hitting 42 percent of the 16 million population.
"We want to see the mining companies include in their investment plans substantial help to the local population socially, economically and culturally," he said at the opening of the first Chamber of Mines in Burkina Faso.
Tiao said it was essential for the mining firms' own development to contribute directly to the struggle against poverty and in favour of social peace.
He also called on them not to cause dangerous damage to the environment in their activities.
Jonas Hien, head of Burkina Faso's non-governmental Organisation for Reinforcing Development Capabilities, said local residents complained regularly of the behaviour of mining companies.
"They feel that these companies come to take the wealth without leaving anything in return," he said. "Which is not far wrong, because these companies often act as if they are in conquered territory."
Burkina Faso has seen a mining boom in recent years, with gold overtaking cotton as its leading export. Since 2007 six gold mines and one of manganese have started up, and more are planned.
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