Scrutinise future mining contracts – WACAM

Hannah Owusu Koranteng Wacam

Mrs. Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, Associate Executive Director of WACAM, a non-governmental organization, has noted the urgent need for stakeholders in the mining industry to conduct thorough scrutiny of future mining contracts to bequeath the country deserved benefits from the extractive sector.

She 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 in the mining sector, she explained that the country’s mining sector is at a crossroad and calls for a paradigm-shift.

She is of the opinion that mining has 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.

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

She said Ghana has the potential to reap enormous benefits from the sector should policymakers adopt the best practices.

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

Mrs. Owusu-Koranteng said Ghana has been very effective in creating a favourable business environment for mining investment, but has failed in the regulation of surface mining operations. Surface mining, she said, pollutes the environment and requires 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 whereby 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.

source  : B&FT