Place 5-year moratorium on issuance of mining licences

Mr Tetteh Onumah

Mr Tetteh Onumah

A former small scale miner from Tarkwa, in the Western Region, Mr. Tetteh Onumah, has called on the government to place a five-year moratorium on the issuance of new prospecting and mining licences after the ongoing vetting process is completed.

The ban, according to him, would not only help check the abuse at the Minerals Commission, which has plunged the entire mining sector into chaos in the country, but would also help promote accountability within the mining sector.

“Over the years several governments have tried their best in bringing the menace of illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey” to an end without much success, due to the lack of support from the citizenry.

However, this government has been fortunate ̶ It has received massive support from various stakeholders in dealing with the situation and caution must be taken to ensure that the toil and resources invested in the fight against the menace does not go to waste,” he emphasised.

Mr. Onumah who disclosed this  when he walked into the “Ghanaian Times” newsroom in Accra, accused some selfish individuals at the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), for exploiting the issuance of mining licence and environmental permits to people for their own selfish gains.

According to him after the successful vetting of licences of small scale and artisanal miner the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, must go ahead and publish the details of all those who qualified to undertake mining in the country.

He said the details must include the areas of concession given to individuals to mine their licence numbers, expiration dates of their licences and the type of mining they were allowed to do.

“Subsequently, government must issue a five-year moratorium on the issuance of licence and that must apply to everybody irrespective of his or her status in society,” he stressed.

The former miner explained that the moratorium would not only help check the abuse by some officials at the Minerals Commission which had plunged the entire mining sector into chaos in the country but also promote accountability within the mining sector.

“Some of these state officials own concessions and they secretly sell out these concessions to some rich and powerful in society- including politicians and business people,” he reiterated.

He further called for the amendment of the Mining Act to check the situation where big mining firms who were issued prospecting licences hold it in perpetuity, thus depriving the country of huge sums of revenue.

“As it stands now companies that are given licence to prospect for gold are required to apply for mining licence before they can go ahead and do commercial mining, however, because there are no timelines to the period a company can continue to prospect, some of these companies hide behind prospecting and do actual mining to the disadvantage of the country,” he said.

Mr. Onumah called on government to be firm and enforce to the latter all aspects of the roadmap to avoid a slip into the old ways of doing things, adding that “the committee must not trust officials at the Minerals Commission and the EPA”.

He however, commended government for the bold initiative adopted to end the menace of illegal mining in the country.

 

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