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Business News of Sunday, 8 June 2014

Source: GNA

Small-scale miners should pay appreciable taxes - Minerals Commission

Dr Tony Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Minerals Commission, has expressed the need for small scale miners to pay appreciable tax to the state for national development.

He said the Mining Act of 703 allows for small scale mining, which is the preserve of Ghanaians only, but the communities in which they operate do not benefit from their operation as they pay minimal fee before going into business.

“Between 2012 and 2013, 34 per cent of Ghana’s total gold production came from the small scale mining sector, in monetary terms this came to about two million dollars yet one cannot account for the relevant taxes that accrue to the state,” Dr Aubynn stated.

Dr Aubynn was speaking when he paid courtesy calls on Mr Paul Evans Aidoo, Western Regional Minister, and the Regional House of Chiefs in Sekondi.

Small Scale Mining, he said, is good for the country. However, he said illegal mining in any form including misapplication of license would not be countenanced.

The CEO said the Commission is intensifying its engagement with industry to enhance the local supply chain development, saying it holds the key to linking the mining sector to the rest of Ghana’s economy in order to maximise the benefits of mining.

Dr Aubynn noted that local communities where minerals are found bear the impact of mining and therefore called for collaboration by stakeholders to fashion out how best mining could be done sustainably for the benefit of all.

Mr Aidoo urged the CEO to ensure strict monitoring of the activities of the small scale miners to comply with the mining regulations so that they do not degrade the environment or pollute river bodies with impunity.

He noted that most of the river bodies in the region have been polluted by illegal miners thus putting the affected communities into economic hardship.

Mr Aidoo said small scale miners are offenders because they misuse their licenses by over stretching their concessions to affect others and asked the Commission to prevent these acts to bring sanity in their operations.

At the Regional House of Chiefs the members called on the Commission to actively involve the traditional authorities in the acquisition of land for concession by the small scale miners.

Osagyefo Dr Kwamena Enimil, President of the Regional House of Chiefs asked for a second look at the process of acquisition of concession for mining as traditional authorities who are the custodians of the land are always kept in the dark.

“All we see is that some people have come on site and have started mining without a word to us the chiefs,” Osagyefo Enimil said.

He expressed the need for collaboration between the chiefs, the Commission, Environmental Protection Agency, Water Resources Commission and all related agencies to come out with a workable agreement that would be beneficial and satisfactory to all.