The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, which has oversight responsibility over mining activities in the country, says it will continue to ensure opportunities for increasing local content in the mining industry through building the capacity of local entrepreneurs and job creation in mining areas.
Among others the Ministry will continue to enforce the ban on registration and participation of foreign companies in small scale mining in accordance with the Minerals and Mining Act of Ghana, Act 703.
As part of efforts to maximize its contribution to sustainable development of the country, the mining sector will this year also improve information availability to attract investors, while actively collaborating with key stakeholders for the implementation of programmes to improve performance of small scale miners as well as reduce or eliminate illegal mining activities in the country.
These were contained in a document submitted to Parliament by the Ministry, during the consideration of its budget estimate for the 2013 fiscal year.
In order to access climate change funds to sustainably finance resource management and development, the ministry plans to complete the carbon emission reference level framework and monitoring, reporting and verification system. It will implement the Forest Investment Programme (FIP) and the National Plantations Development Programme to arrest drivers of forest degradation and deforestation in order to enhance forest resources and create jobs.
Eco-tourism development and improvement of the status of the protected area system for revenue generation and resource conservation to promote private sector investment will also be pursued by the ministry.
The lands sub-sector of the Ministry will this year conduct inspection on lands to monitor uses and ensure effective information update to adapt new and innovative means of promoting development control and enforce regulations.
“In addition, inventory of all state lands to obtain complete and up-to-date records on public lands will be completed to create the database of all state acquired lands,” the document stated, adding that “To ensure the development of the oil and gas industry, the acquisition of rights to land and way leaves for the oil related industry installations will be facilitated and the appropriate plans and maps produced for the monitoring of operations of the onshore and offshore activities in the oil industry.”
In its recommendation to the House after examining the Ministry’s proposed activities for the 2013 fiscal year, the joint Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy and Lands and Forestry, observed with grave concern the alarming rate at which illegal mining is progressing in the country and its devastating effect on the environment.
The Committee was happy that provisions have been made in the budget for the Mineral’s Commission to address the menace, while allocations have also been made for the National Resource Management Programme Secretariat for the implementation of projects, including the exploration of mineral areas for small scale miners.
It is the expectation of the Committee that the stated programmes of the Ministry and especially, the Mining Sector will help in getting illegal small scale miners into the ambit of the commission’s control and direction so as to help reduce incidence of illegal mining in the country; and further improve the living conditions of people in the mining communities.
Among others, the Committee observed that there have been inadequate budgetary allocation to the Geological Survey Department over the years, an act that has seriously affected their output in terms of exploration activities.
“The Committee would like to appeal to the Ministry to engage the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC), allied institutions and the oil and gas capacity building project to support the department to improve its capacity and also revamp its laboratories,” the report stated.
It was also the view of the Committee that the department would come up with strategies to commercialize its operations by way of the sale of geological data to generate additional funds to support its activities.
An amount of Ghc 226, 433, 976 was approved by Parliament for the activities of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in 2013.
Briefing the Committee about the activities of the Ministry last year, sector Minister, Alhaji A.B.A Fuseini, said to give full effect to Act 703, six Mining Regulations were passed by Parliament to strengthen the regulatory framework governing the management of the Mineral’s and Mining Industry. He said the Ministry has also facilitated the passage of the Mineral’s Development Fund Bill to help address developmental issues in mining communities.
“The Ministry has established Regional Task Forces to complement effort by the National Security to deal with the illegal mining situation in the country. Five Regional Task Forces are already operational in the Eastern, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Central regions,” the Minister stated.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has the responsibility of developing and managing sustainable land, forest, wild life and mineral resources; review, update and consolidate existing legislation and policies effecting natural resources management; and build regional and global linkages toward the management of natural resources, among others.
Source: The Business Analyst