Mr. Desmond Boahem, an Inspector of Mines at the Minerals Commission, has said chiefs should acquire licence to undertake small-scale mining reserved for Ghanaians.
“The law does not prevent chiefs from acquiring licence for small-scale mining as Ghanaians. Mining licence granted to chiefs could be revoked if they do not operate within the confines of the law; small-scale mining or mining on 25-acre concessions must not disadvantage the environment and the people.”
He was speaking at a sensitisation workshop for stakeholders on “Obligations of the mineral right holder: What land owners and lawful occupiers must know”, organised by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission at Daboase.
He said everybody is empowered to ensure that the environment is protected and not destroyed, and that the Minerals Commission investigates complaints on mining operations.
Mr. Boahem urged mining companies to promote minerals local content by developing a database of local suppliers to include company’s details, products and services, and give top priority to contracts and orders from local suppliers.
The companies must also provide and share information on ongoing operational needs and capital projects for dissemination to local businesses, he said.
Mr. Anthony Aggrey, Wassa East District Chief Executive, asked small-scale miners to desist from giving out part of their concessions to illegal miners.
He said mineral right holders in some parts of the district are allowing illegal miners to operate on their concessions, and this has contributed to extensive degradation of lands and water-bodies.
Mr. Aggrey observed that the Pra River has become polluted to the extent that Ghana Water Company is finding it difficult to treat it for human consumption.
Mr. Lawrence Agudu, a senior official with the Minerals Commission, explained that the law requires the mineral right holder to obtain the necessary approvals and permits from the Forestry Commission (FC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the protection of natural resources, public health and the environment.
He said mining companies must start operation within 18 months after receiving their licence, or the licence will become invalid.
Mr. Agudu said mining companies are to prepare environmental management plans within the first 18 months of operation and the plans have to be revised every three years, adding that mining companies could apply for an environmental certificate after two years of operation.