General News of Saturday, 1 December 2012
Source: Minerals Commission
November 29, 2012 GHANA: The Threat of Decay - An IMANI Pre-Election Report
The Minerals Commission has taken note of IMANI Ghana’s report on the above, issued on November 26, 2012, which touched on various policy issues.
Much as the Minerals Commission appreciates the good intentions of IMANI Ghana in bringing out issues of national dimensions, certain aspects of the report which touched on Hydrocarbon Policy and where the Minerals Commission was mentioned regarding the mineral regime, requires a reaction to clarify some of the issues raised.
1. First, the mineral sector was wrongly captured under Hydrocarbon (which in Ghana covers the oil and gas sub-sector) Policy; the mining sector in Ghana is neither a part of the Oil and Gas sub-sector or does not include the hydrocarbons.
2. The current mineral regime in Ghana has come this far by taking cognizance of the dynamics in the mining industry the world over and at the national level, as well as stakeholder input. It is worthy to note that, Ghana’s current draft mining policy which is still evolving, nonetheless has elements which were approved earlier being implemented, and has largely been the basis for the ECOWAS directive on the Harmonization of Mining Policies in the West Africa sub region. Indeed, Ghana played an active part in the development of the Africa Mining Vision and its Action Plan for implementation by mineral resource countries in Africa.
Nationally, it is worth mentioning the passage of the subsidiary legislation (Regulations) to give full effect to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
These legislations relate to the following areas:
? Minerals and Mining (General) Regulations, 2012, LI 2173;
? Minerals and Mining (Support Service) Regulations, 2012, LI 2174;
? Minerals and Mining (Compensation and Resettlement) Regulations, 2012, LI 2175;
? Minerals and Mining (Licensing) Regulations, 2012, LI 2176;
? Minerals and Mining (Explosives) Regulations, 2012, LI 2177; and
? Minerals and Mining (Health & Safety) Regulations, 2012, LI 2182.
3. On the issue of the restructured prospecting and exploration system or licensing regime, the new mining regulations have introduced an escalating annual fees regime to prevent speculators from unjustifiably holding on to large tracts of mining lands that they may not need for immediate operation. This way, mining lands will be made more available to Small Scale Miners as a way of reducing illegal mining in the country
4. Following the intensification of the Commission’s sensitization drive on the need for Small Scale Mining Licence acquisition for those interested in such mining, increasing numbers of operators have shown interest in regularizing their operations. For example from January to November 2012, 1,200 applications were received. This is 71.4% increase in applications over the number for 2011. Along with other interventions, the Commission would continue with the sensitization drive to ensure that Formal Small Scale Mining serves as a key area of employment for Ghanaians whilst contributing to socioeconomic development of our communities.
5. Regarding the decentralization of mineral rights acquisition, one can appreciate the challenge of interconnectivity of ICT infrastructure across the country. At the District level and more seriously at the community level, this is virtually non-existent but this is where Small Scale mining normally takes place. Such interconnectivity is essential for further improvements in the integrated land /mineral resources management system being pursued.
The Commission in May 2012 initiated the Mincom WAN Project. The main objective of the project had been to deploy a Wide Area Network to facilitate the provision of electronic services aimed at enhancing the performance and the timely delivery of services to the Commission’s clients from the various district and regional offices. Specifically, the project when completed will:
• Bring the Commission’s core business functions to the door step of her clientele
• Facilitate some level of automation of the Commission’s Operations and Core Business Functions utilizing specialized application packages which would enable the following services:
? Introduce an efficient Mineral Cadastral Systems that would enable Spatial Information & Integrated Mapping Application Tools to expedite delivery of Cartographic Search Services to clients at the district or regional offices and aid decentralization of Mineral Cadastral Administration
? Introduce Application Status verification via the Commission’s Web portal
? To wholistically address challenges in the mining sector, the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources in collaboration with the Minerals Commission in July this year held a Maiden National Mining Forum aimed at strengthening stakeholder collaboration as well as develop practical recommendations for effective management of the mining industry. Subsequently the Minerals Commission has held strategic meetings with the National Development Planning Commission and other key stakeholders on the critical issues raised for which an Action Plan has been developed to address these issues. The recommendations would feed into action plans for 2013 onwards.
The multi-faceted dimension of mining issues requires a multi-stakeholder approach. We would want to assure all and sundry that, the Commission is therefore actively pursuing collaboration with all relevant stakeholders to manage Ghana’s mineral resources for the benefit of the present and future generations. We would therefore welcome comments aimed at this goal.
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Senior Public Relations Officer