The Mineral Development Fund (MDF) Bill 2014 has been passed into law by Parliament to provide the legal basis for the disbursement and management of ceded royalties received by government.
The Bill also introduces the mining community development scheme to sponsor socio-economic development in mining communities or those affected by mining activities.
The object of the Fund is to also provide financial resource for the direct benefit of mining communities, holders of interest in land as well as traditional and local government authorizes within the mining areas.
The Fund will be financed with 20% of mineral royalties received by the Ghana Revenue Authority from mining leases in respect of the mining operations of the holders, money approved by Parliament, grants donations, gifts and money from investment made by the board of the Fund.
The Bill also prescribed guidance for rolling out Corporate Social Responsibility Projects, set health and safety environmental issues and resolve issues relating to blasting activities of mining companies, among others.
Government in 1993, by an Executive decision, established MDF to provide funds for mining communities to undertake development projects to mitigate the effects of mining on the environment and support the operating budget of mining sector institutions and some specific mineral related projects.
But after many years of existence, the Fund has not been used for the purpose for which it was established hence the legislation to back the Fund in order to avert misappropriation.
According to the Ghana Statistical Service, the mining sub-sector grew remarkably by 14.3% in 2011 compared to the 8.3% recorded 2010.
According to the Gold and Fields Mineral Survey, Ghana was the ninth leading producer of gold in the World and the second in Africa despite the two per cent decrease in production from 92 tonnes in 2010 to 91 tonnes in 2011.