Over ten mining companies in Ghana including Newmont have been accused of engaging in “monumental galamsey”, making it difficult for the state to derive the appropriate benefits from their operations.
Dr. Kwabena Donkor, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Mines and Energy, described this as an “obvious affront to Ghanaians”.
Mr. Donkor was leading a discussion at a public-private sector dialogue on mining governance in Ghana organized by the African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), in partnership with the Australian Government.
The event is a public-private sector dialogue on mining governance and brings together government officials, civil society organisations, policy makers, and industry representatives for a one-day roundtable discussion on governance in the management of revenues from mineral exploitation in Ghana.
“As we speak, Newmont is engaged in the biggest galamsey in the history of this country and that they are mining without parliamentary ratification at Akyem.
They are not prospecting, they are mining…right from the Minerals Commission and Ministry are guilty of the illegality as well as Newmont, the major culprit.
“If a Ghanaian, given 25 acres to mine moves beyond by one meter it is declared galamsey, galamsey is simply illegal. When you are multinational, listed on the stock exchange, and mining without parliamentary ratification, it is monumental galamsey in my books.”
“First of all it is at total disrespect for our sovereignty as a people, secondly, it can lead to revenue leakages because the essence of parliamentary ratification is for parliament to determine whether the terms inure to the interest of Ghana,” he told Myjoyonline.com.
“If the big boys are breaking the law in the same industry, [then what the mining companies are doing ] is galamsey on a commercial scale,” he asserted. However, the mining companies cannot entirely be blamed for breaking the law, the state itself should be held responsible, he said.
Currently there is a contradiction between the Constitution of Ghana and the Minerals and Mining Act 703, 2006, he explained.
Article 268 (1) of the 1992 Constitution states: “Any transaction, contract or undertaking involving the grant of a right or concession by or on behalf of any person including the Government of Ghana, to any other person or body of persons howsoever described, for the exploitation of any mineral, water or other natural resource of Ghana made or entered into after the coming into force of this Constitution shall be subject to ratification by Parliament.”
This, he emphasized, has been contradicted by the Minerals and Mining Act, which is subservient to the Constitution, and yet gives powers to the sector minister to usurp parliamentary powers.
“Ghanaian officialdom have let the state Ghana down,” he stressed.
In his observation, politicians have not done enough to guard Ghana’s natural resources and he has therefore charged Ghanaians not to leave the destiny of this country to politicians alone, irrespective of the party in power.
source : myjoyonline.com