The Minerals Commission, is proposing a revision of aspects of the country’s Mineral and Mining law, Act 703 of 2006 in relation to the small scale mining in Ghana.
According to the Commission, there is a fundamental problem with the current legislation and practice.
The current minerals and mining law defines small scale mining as mining by a method not involving substantial expenditure by an individual or group of persons not exceeding nine or a co-operative society made of ten or more persons with simple implements.
The activity is also said to be solely reserved for Ghanaians.
However in an interview with Citi Business News, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dr Tony Aubynn said, the sector has been taken over by foreigners with the miners using heavy duty equipment and explosives.
He however said the amendment is part of efforts to address challenges posed by the informal or illegal mining activities as well as improve small scale mining in Ghana.
“We know that having mined for several years and having legalized small scale mining for about 28 years or so, we still see significant challenges in the sector. We still see the negative impact of mining especially the illegal mining on the environment, but more importantly, we realize that the law in its present position is also problematic. What we see on the ground today is entirely different from small scale mining as you have heavy equipment being used and the law doesn’t provide for that and is quite on that,”Dr. Tony Aubynn lamented.
He added, “now you will find that we have people investing heavily in small scale mining and so it is no more like the artisanal mining as the law anticipated in 1989; as the framers of the law actually saw small scale miners use pick-axes and shovels among others.”
Dr. Tony Aubynn therefore explained how the reclassification of small scale mining will increase revenue to government and protect the environment with close monitoring from the commission.
“What we have proposed is to reclassify small scale mining in the country. First, we will maintain the artisanal mining which will be reserved for Ghanaians only allowed to pan but not allowed to use heavy equipment and they will be banned from using it. They will be required to pay some fee after mining and the second category will be small scale mining with a land size of about 25 acres of land, required to have capacity and mining engineer and geologist as part of management and finally will be required to pay royalties and taxes”
“The third and new level we want to be introduced is the medium scale mining which will allow for partnership either among Ghanaians or foreigners but the foreigners will have to invest cash of at least 10 million dollars and they are allowed to mine as the large mining companies do.” he noted.
The Minerals Commission boss was also quick to add that the Metropolitan Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) will have the responsibility to monitor the sector ensuring that laid down rules are followed to protect the environment.
By :Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citifmonline.com/Ghana