The small-scale mining license acquisition process, guided by the Minerals and Mining Act and the Minerals and Mining (Licensing) Regulations, is transparent, neutral and based on merit, the Minerals Commission has said.
The Commission, in a statement issued in Accra, explained that the licensing procedure is neutral and based on merit. It starts with an applicant identifying an area of interest and contacting the District Officer of the Commission responsible for the area to initiate the application process, in line with the Commission’s policy of decentralising the application process.
It said at the District Office of the Commission, the area is checked to find out whether it is free or encumbered and an official search report is then issued to the applicant in that respect.
“If the search report shows the area is unencumbered, the applicant can go ahead to complete an application form and prepare a site plan for submission to the District Office of the Minerals Commission,” it said.
On receipt of the application, the Commission will process the application — including inspecting the site to verify the accuracy of the site plan and forward the application to the relevant District Assembly for a 21-day publication.
The District Assembly is required to return the results of the publication to the Minerals Commission, signed by the District Chief Executive.
It said if there is no objection to the application and the applicant’s proposals for carrying out the mining operations are determined to be satisfactory, the Commission makes a recommendation to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to grant a small-scale mining licence.
These applications are dealt with on a first-come first-considered basis, which means that no application will be considered until the first in line goes through the process and is rejected.
“In line with the Commission’s continuous efforts to further deepen transparency in the license acquisition process, a Minerals Cadastre Administration System — a computer-based online cadaster — is being introduced, which will show the entire licensing procedure online; including details of applicants and the areas granted.”
The Commission denied knowledge of any ‘unofficial leasing of mining concessions to miners’. It said while the law permits the transfer of mineral rights to Ghanaians subject to approval of the minister, any information relating to specific illegal transfer of mineral licences should be brought to the of the Commission’s attention for redress.
Also, periodically the minister creates designated or blocked-out areas for small-scale mining under Section 89 of Act 703.
“Typically, these areas are created from areas surrendered by some mining or exploration companies.”
The areas found to be suitable for small-scale mining are mapped and demarcated in accordance with the number of blocks prescribed for small-scale mining licences, and made available to interested Ghanaians in the relevant districts.
If an applicant follows the procedure and meets requirements for operating a mine, the Commission makes a recommendation for the minister to grant the license.
It would also be inaccurate to suggest that non-miners are ineligible to apply for small-scale mining licence, or any mineral rights for that matter.
The statement said under section 83 of Act 703, the key qualifications for a small-scale mining licence are Ghanaian citizenship and age (minimum of 18 years).
“Therefore, an owner of a mine is not required to be miner; so long as s/he can show that competent persons will be employed to work on the concession.”