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Business News of Thursday, 14 February 2013

Source: Daily Graphic

No good geological data on exploration - Chamber of Mines

The Ghana Chamber of Mines on Wednesday said there were no good geological data on exploration, a constraint to Small Scale Mining (SSMs) in accessing loans from the bank.

It therefore, proposed the establishment of a special structure or committee to see to the implementation, utilization and allocation of the resources for exploration and infrastructural development for SSMs.

Mr Ambrose Yennah, Executive Director of International Centre for Advocacy and Social Research, said there was the need to strengthen and resource the mining institutions such as the Minerals Commission to undertake exploration and prospecting for viable lands in the short, medium and long term.

Mr Yennah said this at the Ghana Chamber of Mines and BUSAC Fund Policy Dialogue Meeting in Accra.

He said the Chamber had conducted a research to mainstream small scale mining operations in Ghana.

“Resources are needed for infrastructural development of mining communities,” he said.

He said there was the need to review, strengthen and update already existing laws and regulations in the mining sector to make them more relevant to the current needs and challenges of the industry.

He said the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency should expedite actions to decentralized and further simplify the licensing procedures to achieve a better compliance regime by SSMs.

“Currently, the timeline is 90 days with 21 Day Statutory requirement for publication before the issuance of such a license,” he added.

Mr Yennah said all small scale miners should register with their respective metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies and pay appropriate taxes to government and other local authorities.

Dr Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines, said the country needed to harness the natural resources for national development.

He said as part of the research they had identified political, traditional authorities and other external interferences as one of the challenges facing the smooth implementation of policies in the sector.

He called for the establishment of a plant pool to hire out mining equipment and tools to licensed small scale miners, who because of the lack of access to equipment, were compelled to bring in financiers who provided equipment and bore the cost of operations.

Brigadier General Daniel Kweku Mishio, Director General (Joint Operation) of the Ghana Armed Forces, indicated the need to educate and train SSMs on the use of new technology and safe mining measures.

He advocated for funds to support the media in their campaign to fight against illegal mining activities.