Wpid Galamsey
Ecological Damage Is The Result Of Illegal Mining

Ladies and Gentlemen from the media and colleagues from the Minerals Commission,It is with great pleasure to welcome you all to this morning?s gathering.galamseyers

Over the past month and a half, I have received countless number of calls from some of you wanting an interview on my new role as the CEO of the Minerals Commission.
I believe this is the right time to interact with you after going through an internal orientation and meeting with the Board officially last week to agree on some strategic direction for the Commission in the short to medium term.

? Background of the Minerals Commission
– Prior to the Economic Recovery Programme (ERP) initiated in 1983, the mining industry was attracting virtually no new investments. Indeed no new mine had been opened in Ghana since 1945.
– The mining sector was characterized by falling levels of production, worn out and outdated infrastructure and machinery and exodus of skilled personnel among others.
– One of the measures under the ERP was to revamp the sector and therefore the need for the establishment of a body- the Minerals Commission- with a focused function of developing and coordinating mineral sector policy and monitoring its implementation.
– The Minerals Commission then became established in September 1986 under Minerals Commission Law (PNDCL.154).
– With the Promulgation of the 1992 Constitution, Parliament enacted the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) to give continued legal backing to the existence of the Commission as required by Article 269(1) of the Constitution.

? Vision
– The Minerals Commission will strive to make Ghana the leading destination of mining sector investment in Africa through creating a congenial atmosphere in which all stakeholders work as partners in a safe environment to achieve on common goal: sustainable development through mining.

? Mission
– To foster efficient and effective regulation and management of the utilization of Ghana?s mineral resources through the development of solid knowledge-based, self-led organization, which recognizes that mining investment will take place and be sustained only if it is under Win-Win circumstances.

? Challenges
? Availability of concessions for prospective investors
– As of December 2013, 235 Local and Foreign companies held Prospecting/Reconnaissance licenses.
– Locals (Ghanaian Controlled): 184 Prospecting/Reconnaissance licenses (78.3%)
– Foreign Controlled: 51 Prospecting/Reconnaissance licenses (21.7%)
– Some of these companies are not active but are holding on to the concessions.
– Prospective investors both local and foreign get frustrated due speculators holding on to such grounds without development.

? Limited diversification of the mining sector
– Mineral production base has been limited to few traditional minerals namely; Gold, Bauxite, Manganese & Diamonds.
– Other lesser known ones are: Limestone, clays, kaolin, granites and solar salt.

? Trust gap existing among Government, Industry and Stakeholders on issues such as:
– Benefits of mining to Ghana?s economy
– High cost of utilities in the country
– High cost and delays in securing social license
– Exemptions from duties on equipment exclusively for mining operations
– Full disclosures of production figures and revenues
– Capital flight
– Transfer pricing
– Under declared taxes
– Volume and purity of gold and diamond exports
– Environmental degradation
– Social conflict in mine communities
– Under development in mining communities among others

? Limited integration of the mining sector with the rest of the economy
– Until recently, almost all inputs in the mining sector were sourced from abroad.
– The country failed over the years to take advantage of the mining sector to link other sectors.
– This has rubbed the country of the opportunity for mining- based industrialization, employment generation, tax revenues and overall growth.

? Illegal mining
– Very complex phenomenon that has defied all attempted solutions and resulted in massive destruction of the environment as well as serious health complications for those involve and the population around where these illegalities take place.

Short to Medium Term Strategic Direction of the Commission
? Making available mineable lands
? Moratorium on Prospecting License
– The Minerals will in the very near future announce moratorium on issuance of prospecting license to new applicants.
– This is to enable the Commission clean up the existing list to make available, concessions for prospective investors and also reduce speculative holding of prospecting license concessions.
? Diversification of the mining sector
? Expanding the mineral base
– The Commission will encourage prospective investors not to only explore the traditional minerals currently under production, but to venture into exploring other minerals in the country.
– There are lesser known minerals which have not been fully explored and exploited such as; kaolin, solar salt, clay, marble, mica, limestone, iron ore, zinc among others.
– Recent air borne geophysical findings in Ghana have indicated the occurrence of some minerals including; copper, barite, and phosphate, zinc, uranium, lead, chromites and columbite.
– These will be promoted to attract investors in the sector by way of diversifying the country?s mineral exploitation.
– Option to support multi-mineral assaying.

? Bridging the existing Trust Gap
? Defining Ghana?s Mining Vision
– One major issue as a country that needs to be resolved to help bridge the trust gap among major stakeholders is to have a National Mining Policy (blue print) that categorically state the reason why Ghana is engaging in mining. This way, the debate of whether mining is good for the country or other-wise will be put to rest.
– The Sector Ministry is seeking cabinet?s approval for this important document which has been in a draft stage for more than a decade now, for full implementation.
– This, the Commission is following up closely to enhance its work.

? Development of an Assay Laboratory
– The Commission will ensure the speedy development of the proposed assay laboratory at the airport area where land has already been acquired.
– This will help in ascertaining the quality and purity of gold exports from Ghana thereby determining the actual value and the proceeds thereof that will come to government.

? Enhance Collaboration and Transparency
– Ghana is EITI compliant.
– The Commission has set out a programme to intensify its collaboration with key stakeholders with the view of ensuring transparency and adherence to regulatory provisions thereby bridging the trust gap and building a vibrant mining sector that will contribute sustainably to Ghana?s growth and development.
– Targeted actors will include; Industry, Chiefs, CSOs, NGOs, Media, Community Members and Key Government Institutions that support the management of the mining sector.

? Information Flow
– The Commission will hence intensify its Communication with regular encounters with key stakeholders, news bulletin, website updates and news releases.
? Spotlight on license buyers and exporters of minerals
– License buyers and exporters of minerals are being entreated to make full disclosure of all transactions regarding gold purchases and exports.
– The Commission has put such license holders on spotlight to ensure that they adhered to their license conditions.

? Integration of the mining sector with the rest of the economy
? Support government?s intention to encourage prospective investors to develop an integrated bauxite industry in Ghana.
? Also encourage government to possibly consider the primary processing of manganese into sinter (value addition) before export.
? Again, the Commission is going to push for the development of integrated iron steel industry in Ghana.
? The Minerals Commission will intensify its engagement with industry to enhance the Local Supply Chain development.
? The conscious development of the Local Supply Chain holds the key to linking the mining sector to the rest of Ghana?s economy so as to reap much benefits of mining as a country.

? Illegal Mining
– The mining Act allows for Small Scale Mining in Ghana and which is the preserve of Ghanaians only.
– Currently the small scale mining sub sector contributes about 34% of annual gold production (1.34 million ounces)
– The purpose of this is to ensure employment and income generation for Ghanaians especially those in local mining areas.
– The Commission therefore believes that Small Scale Mining is good for the country.
– However, illegal mining in any form-shall not be countenance.
– The Commission supports Government?s use of the Security Forces to flush out these illegal miners as one of the measures to curb this menace.
– Often, we hear some?people giving reasons ?why they fail to acquire the appropriate license to engage in small scale mining. –

– Prominent among these are; Time for processing license, Lack of Knowledge about the Small Scale Mining Law, Lack of knowledge about Mineable Land and Capital to purchase Mining Equipment.

? Measures to address these concerns
– The Commission has fashioned out the following measures to address these concerns. Among these are;
– Commencement of Mincom Wide Area Network (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.
– Earmarked areas for geological investigation and parceling suitable areas as small scale mining concessions for Small Scale Mining applicants. This will be done with the expertise of the country?s academic tertiary institutions pursuing mining programme(s) as well a National Service personnel with geology background.
– Encourage community base cooperatives to acquire Small Scale License.
– Liaise with Ghana Investment Promotion Centre to promote investment in Plant Pooling for Small Scale Miners.
– Embark on public education in respect of the Small Scale Mining Law.
– Public education against paying bribes to officials to facilitate license acquisition.
– Internally also, the Commission will seek to continually build staff capacity to re-energize their efforts and create new mind set for efficient and effective delivery first time-every-time.
? The outlined short to medium strategic direction of the Commission is aimed at making the Minerals Commission, the most effective and efficient mining regulatory body in Africa employing collaborative methodology and modern technology whilst maintaining fairness and firmness.
? It is also to attract prospective investors into the sector for enhanced growth of the country?s economy.
? The ultimate therefore is to seek to ensure that, mining becomes openly beneficial to all stakeholders.

Source: Minerals Commission

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