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It has come to light that the current unbridled destruction of Ghana’s water bodies, cocoa farms and general environment among other irresponsible mining activities known as ‘galamsey’ is actually self-inflicted considering the country’s weak mining laws
Mr. Augustine Niber, Executive Director of Centre For Public Interest Law [CEPIL] said “while it is important for all of us to join the discussions on the issue of “galamsey” that is very topical in the country now, it is equally important to take a look at some of the weaknesses in our laws and regulations or their implementation and enforcement thereof, which has otherwise exacerbated the issue of irresponsible mining in the country as a whole with the view to finding comprehensive and lasting solutions to addressing the issue in the country”.
He said one of the issues Ghana must deal with is the way and manner low mining concessions are granted in the country, stressing that currently the 1992 constitution of Ghana and the Mineral and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) vest all the natural resources in the President to hold in trust for the people of Ghana.
Mr Niber was speaking at a recent stakeholders forum in Accra on the campaign against irresponsible mining activities in Ghana. It was called at the behest of WACAM, a pro- proper utilization of Ghana’s natural resource advocacy group in partnership with Citi FM and Tropenbos Ghana, a local non-governmental organization which supports wise use of Ghana’s natural resources through research, capacity building and informed multi-stakeholder dialogue.
Mr. Niber said the fact that the lands upon which these minerals are found belongs to individuals, families, communities and stools including skins and that as it is in the law, the mining concessions for both large and small scale mining are granted without the consent and participation of the owners of the land.
The provision of the law on the grant of mining concessions in the country according to the Executive Director of CEPIL is therefore not in accord with internationally accepted norms of Free Prior Informed Consent [FPIC] and the ECOWAS directive on the harmonization of guiding principles and policies in the mining sector to which Ghana is a signatory and published in the gazette.
He said as communities are not participants in the grant of the concession, it is sometimes difficult if not impossible for communities including traditional authorities to know who has been granted what license and for what type of mining activity or the size of their land given out or tell who is carrying out mining in their area illegally so as to make a complaint to the regulatory institutions.
Director of Tropenbos Ghana, Mr. K. S Nketiah, in his delivery said illegal logging, unsustainable sourcing of agro-commodities and irresponsible mining are some of the major factors that affect the security of the international public good. Such practices, he explained had their roots in inappropriate policies, weak law enforcement and complicity of some of the people who are supposed to be managing the country’s natural resources.
He said his outfit welcomes the bold attempt of the government to halt the negative impacts of mining.
Mr. Nketiah was however worried that some so-called legal mining may be having very serious negative impacts not just on the country’s water bodies but also on people’s livelihoods, health and the environment as a whole.
Source: Adovor Nutifafa || ghananewsonline.com.gh