Over 200 members of the Association of Local Mining Contractors of Ghana have accused the Minerals Commission of working against Government’s drive to sanitize Ghana’s mining sector and collapsing local businesses.
The aggrieved members are also kicking against new fees introduced by the Minerals Commission, which is charged for obtaining renewable operational permits.
According to the Association, its members usually go through difficulty when acquiring operational permit to work in mining companies as they are made to pay huge sums before they are given the permit.
Leadership of the Association explained that its members are now made to pay additional $10,000 aside from the fee of GHS 5,000 to acquire a permit to be able to work with mining companies in Ghana.
In 2019, aggrieved Local Contractors working for Newmont Goldcorp formally Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, wrote to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to get the Minerals Commission to maintain previous rates charged by Contractors providing services for Newmont Goldcorp.
The contractors in the petition explained that Local Companies were charged an amount of GHS 10,000 per annum and the Sole Proprietors were charged GHS 5,000 for acquisition of the Minerals Commission permit to enable them to render services to the Mining Companies.
The Contractors stated that the charges were astronomically increased and Local Companies were expected to pay more than GHS 50,000, while the Sole Proprietor was also expected to pay GHS 25,000 which it said was more than 500% increment before they could acquire the permit.
The group in its petition described as illogical, a decision by the Commission to charge contractors in US dollars when they are paid in Ghana Cedis when they render services to mining companies in Ghana.
The parent Association addressing a news conference in Kumasi maintained that the Minerals Commission is out to collapse local businesses in Ghana.
Vice Chairman of the Association, Romeo Wilson, called for the establishment of an independent committee to investigate activities of the Commission.
“We feel the Minerals Commission is working against the Government by collapsing local businesses. If at the end of the day, the Government is trying to stop Galamsey [Illegal Mining] in the mining areas, galamsey is rife. Up to today, the Government is still fighting that Galamsey issue. And if Government is doing all these things and the Minerals Commission is also demanding such amounts from us, indirectly, you are telling us to go out of business for Galamsey to run.”
“At least when we started our businesses, we have pulled a lot of these potential Galamseyers and now they earn decent monies to take care of their families and their needs. And if we are doing this to help the Government to bridge the unemployment gap and you, on the other hand, you are also working to collapse our business, then what are you doing? You are killing our businesses,” he fumed
The Association has demanded that the government must as a matter of urgency investigate the Minerals Commission and review the rates charged local contractors in the acquisition of mining permits.