Stakeholders have called for the involvement and consultation of Chiefs in the issuance Artisanal and Small Scale miners licenses in the country. According to them, when chiefs are consulted, they could provide legitimate advice and knowledge on the consequences of the activities of mining in their area which most at times results in these land dispute cases pending in the courts.
Nana Professor S.K.B. Asante, the Omanhene of Asokore Asante in the Ashanti Region, suggested a strict supervision in terms of reclamation and payment of deposits, to ensure miners reclaimed lands after mining activities.
Adding that, chiefs must be given a say in the activities of mining because, they are accountable to the people and thus, bears the consequences of the illegal mining activities.
Nana Asante made the suggestions at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)’s ‘Nkitahodie’ Policy Dialogue in Accra on 15th December, 2017 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, dabbed: “Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Legal Regime in Ghana: Policy Options for Addressing Gaps and Challenges.”
Nana Asante however, urged the personnel at the Minerals Commission to police the environment in the various mining areas and further called on Government to employ more staff into the Minerals Commission if the need be.
Mr. Dominic Sam, the country Director of UNDP, in his remarks indicated that, the country’s current legal regime does not really provide traditional authorities with clear responsibilities and workable mechanisms in the regulation and management of mineral resources in their respective jurisdictions.
Mr. Dominic therefore suggested that, the current legal regime governing the mining sector must critically be reviewed. Saying currently, licensing is considered as bureaucratic and very expensive, thus, creating the avenue for people to conduct mining operations illegally.
According to him, before Ghana could attain the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s), Small-Scale mining challenges and its associated issues must critically be addressed.
Executive Director for the Centre of Public Interest Law (CEPIL) and also a Lawyer, Mr. Augustine Niber, in his presentation also underscored the rampant illegal mining activities to the bureaucratic process of acquiring mining licences in the country.
He cited Sierra Leone as an example, where chiefdoms are involved in acquisition of licences, it only takes 30 days, but in the case of Ghana, it takes one to two years before one can acquire a mining licence.
Mr. Niber, emphasised on the lack of provision of support services and the lack of clear provision of law that prohibits Small Scale Mining in river bodies, as some of the challenges confronting the sector.
Nevertheless, he suggested a register of mining activities in the districts must be kept at all times, to ensure strict monitoring of their activities.
Also in attendance were, Sir Dani’s Dominic Adjei, a Justice of the court of Appeal, Dr. Isaac Bonsu Karikari, an Astute Professional in Land Management, John Opoku, a private Legal Practitioner and Consults on Human Rights and Labour Issues for National and International Organizations, other parties and government officials, CSOs, stakeholders, student representatives from the various institutions and many others.
By: Sammy Adjei/Newsghana.com.gh