Scrutinise Future Mining Contracts— WACAM

WACAM, a non-governmental organisation, has reiterated the need for stake-holders in the mining industry to conduct thorough scrutiny of future mining contracts to bequeath the country the deserved benefits from the extractive sector.

It said the nation should, henceforth, take into cognisance internationally acclaimed frameworks and policies such as the ECOWAS Directive on the Harmonisation of Guiding Principles and Policies in the mining sector to change the status quo of the country’s industry.

Addressing participants at a sensitisation workshop in Tema on the best existing provisions and frameworks to the mining sector, Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of WACAM said the country’s mining sector was at the crossroads and calls for a paradigm shift.

She was of the opinion that mining had done the country more harm than good in all aspects of the industry.

“The sector is thriving on weak fiscal policies, and compromised environmental regulations that have contributed to the degradation of biodiversity which cannot be estimated,” she said.

According to her, the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 was too flexible and liberal to bite, thereby giving industrial actors the leeway to exploit the state, particularly residents of mining communities.

She said Ghana had the potential to reap enormous benefits from the sector should policy-makers adopt the best practices.

“Mineral ore reserves in Ghana are about one trillion ounce with a face value of about US$350 billion and has the potential of improving the economy if operations are conducted in a responsible manner,” she added.

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng said, Ghana had been very effective in creating a favourable business environment for mining investment, but had failed in the regulation of surface mining operations.

Surface mining, she said pollutes the environment and required strong regulation.

“The existing laws are promotional and that guarantees the exploitation of Ghana’s mineral wealth by multinational companies. There should be clear demarcation of active mining operations from communities, water bodies and protected areas of the country and outlaw the practice where surface mining companies use water heads for mining activities,” she stated.

The patrons of the workshop were made up of residents of mining communities and other relevant stakeholders.

From Daniel Dzirasah, Tema

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