The Executive Director of EPA,Mr. Daniel Amlalo, has disclosed that mining companies have continually been recording red ratings since inception of the “Akoben” Rating and Disclosure that seeks to ensure environmental performance rating and disclosure of operating mining companies’ activities.
Although he did not mention the names of mining firms which have consistently been recording red under the “Akoben” ratings, depicting poor environmental performance, Mr. Amlalo stated: “Sanctions are coming up for those who have been consistent red “Akoben” scorers since its inception in 2010″.
The Akoben ratings assess the environmental performance of large scale mining and manufacturing firms operating in the country under a five-colour rating scheme.
The colours are Gold, which stands for excellent performance; Green for very good performance; Blue for good; Orange for satisfactory; and Red for poor performance.
Speaking at the 2012 disclosure held in Accra, he said 16 companies were involved in the rating programme for year 2012 and all but two of them performed excellently under their corporate social responsibilities, while a good number of them performed very well toward their responsiveness to public complaints.
Also, the majority of companies performed satisfactory in handling environmental best practices; however, seven of them had issues with legalities and regulations — thus rating them red or poor performers in the final rating, Mr. Amlalo indicated.
The ratings have generally improved upon mining firms’ operations regarding their adherence to the mining laws, as well as in their obligations toward society in the form of corporate social responsibilities, Mr. Amlalo told the participants at a well-attended forum.
Since the ratings’ establishment, it is annually disclosed to the public and the media with the aim of strengthening public awareness, transparency and participation on issues concerning mining.
In a bid to improve the “Akoben” ratings, the EPA is in collaboration with the Minerals Commission to design a programme that caters for small-scale miners, he revealed.
He indicated that mining companies need to endeavour to attain zero-tolerance for toxic waste releases into the environment by putting up measures to properly manage their toxics.
A Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Dr. Bernice Heloo, in a speech read for her announced plans were afoot to institute an “Akoben” environmental trophy to award companies on \World Environmental Day.
Dr. Heloo said the EPA has already started some discussions on how to apply the rating system to the built-environment clean cities programme, climate management and forestry, saying: “In the coming years, we will see the Akoben programme establish deep institutional roots at the national, regional and local levels”.
The Head of Mining Department of EPA, Mr. Ransford Sekyi, indicated that the Akoben system is a regulatory management tool that will help bring sanity into mining operations.
It also involves hard data, analytical results and visual evidence of activities and performances of companies which are devoid of bias.
Some of the managers of participating companies told the Business Chronicle that they are happy with the ratings.
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