By Chris Twum
A draft National Mining Policy (NMP) will soon be presented to Cabinet for adoption, the outgoing Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Collins Dauda, has announced.
The NMP, when adopted, would provide a framework of principles and policies that will guide the government in the judicious management of the country’s mining and mineral wealth.
Also, it will seek to encourage the role of Ghanaian women in decision-making on issues relating to the industry at the national, local and firm levels.
Alhaji Dauda told stakeholders of the mining industry at a finalisation workshop on the draft NMP in Accra: “The challenges facing the industry need to be addressed through various policy interventions that we develop and implement.”
Alhaji Dauda added that the policy would help to attract investments into the mining industry, especially, the gold sector.
According to him, the industry needs to initiate pragmatic policies to govern the exploitation of the mineral resources, while ensuring the minimisation of costs associated with the exploitation of these mineral resources.
The Minister implored the stakeholders to bring any new concerns they may have for consideration.
Work on this drafted policy was initiated in 1999, which led to the completion of the draft NMP in 2001, after various stakeholder consultations were held.
Touching on the performance of the mining industry, Alhaji Dauda hinted that Ghana recorded an all-time record production of 3.12 million fine ounces, with which currently, the sector contributes 7 per cent of the country’s total corporate tax earnings, 46 per cent of total exports, 12 of government revenue, and about 5.5 per cent Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Ben Aryee, warned that foreigners were allowed to operate in the small scale mining sector.
“However, small scale miners can employ foreigners to work for them; that is allowed by the laws of the country, like any other job.”
“Unfortunately, a number of these foreigners, especially, the Chinese, engage Ghanaians to front for them, acquire licenses for the operations of small scale miners, and basically pass it on to these foreigners. It is wrong, and strictly speaking, they do not own the land, and as such the law does not allow it. Once this transaction comes to the notice of the law, that transaction is nullified,” the CEO added.
Mr. Aryee noted that when the rights of operation of license are being transferred to these foreigners, they go to the extent of using draggers in the water bodies, especially, in the Western Region, polluting the environment.
He applauded the Ghana Immigration Service for putting in the efforts of arresting and deporting foreigners back to their countries for operating under an illegal acquired mining license.