The Adumhene of Kumasi, Baffuor Agyei Kesse IV, has said Nananom cannot be blamed for the spate of illegal mining activities across the country.
The Kumasi chief parried accusing fingers at chiefs for the increase in illegal mining activities in parts of the country and emphasised that chiefs do not have the power to neither encourage it nor stop the practice.
He said the increase in illegal mining, which has resulted in heavy pollution of water bodies and the degradation of forests and the environment over the years, should be laid at the doorstep of the Minerals Commission.
According to the chief, the 1992 Constitution of Ghana empowers the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission to administer the mining industry in Ghana.
It was established under the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450), with the statutory purpose of the “regulation and management of the utilisation of the mineral resources and the coordination of the policies in relation to them,” as the key Regulator of mining and the
The chief also pointed to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act703), as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act900), the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995), and the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) as well as the Minerals
Development Fund Act, 2016 (Act 912) and the environment-related laws such as the Environmental Protection Act 1994 (490) and several other legislation among other enactments which empowers the Minerals Commission, as the sole regulator of the mining industry.
In the face of the cited legislations, Baffuor Agyei Kesse affirmed that chiefs cannot stop miners who come to their jurisdictions with legal documentations to engage in seeming legal business.
He bemoaned the situation where some of these miners and concessionaires come wielding guns and knives and most cases with military and police backing which creates tension and conflict between local law enforcing agents and deployed security personnel.
“Which chief dares challenge the legal documentation of concession by the Minerals Commission as provided by law for a miner or mining companies”, the Adumhene questioned in an interview with The Chronicle in Kumasi.
“Miners and mining companies do not just enter into concessions and start mining, the get approval from the Minerals Commission with the backing of the government”, he said.
Baffuor Agyei Kesse mentioned that what pertains currently is for the Minerals Commission to accept, process and/or recommend the grant of mining leases and rights and renewal and extension of exploration and prospecting licences in forest reserves by miners without the involvement and consent of chiefs.
He said chiefs are, by their status, bound to only collect or accept drink monies when the Minerals Commission have permitted the miners byway of legal documentation to access concessions.
Baffuor Agyei Kesse emphasised that chiefs can only be blamed when they abuse the trust and their involvement accorded them by the Minerals Commission to be part of the regulation and management of the mining industry.
The Adumhene, therefore, called for the involvement of chiefs in regulating mining operations saying as landowners, chiefs should be part of approval of concessions and that until the role of nananom in regulating the mining industry is recognised by the government, the Minerals Commission should, in fairness to them (chiefs), stop shifting the blame.
He has, therefore, suggested that the Minerals Commission should adopt pragmatic measures to address the challenge once and for all.