Illegal small-scale miners have been warned to stay off legally granted mining concessions.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills said at the maiden edition of the Ghana Mining Industry Awards (GMIA), which was on the theme: ‘Recognising Excellence, Celebrating Achievement in the Mining Industry,’ that Government takes “serious exception to the encroachment of concessions legally granted to big mining companies by illegal operators.”
“We will continue to work with other government entities to protect the investments made in the sector,” he said.
According to Mr Mills, with the “recent amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, our institutions will complement the efforts of security services to prevent the scourge of illegal mining.”
The Ministry, he added, “has embarked upon various sensitisation programmes to create awareness on the acquisition of licenses in order to curb the menace of illegal mining.”
“These public sensitisation programmes include advertisements in the media and on bill boards, as well as signage in English, French and Chinese at vantage positions at the Kotoka International Airport.
“It is our fervent expectation that such public engagements will increase knowledge about the new law and the ramifications for those who fall foul of it,” Mr Mills said.
Mr Mills also said his Ministry has started the implementation of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines developed through extensive stakeholder collaboration. “This is expected to reduce social conflicts and ensure that companies contribute to structured development in communities in which they operate.”
“The guidelines seek to establish a comprehensive and forward-looking framework for mining in a manner that catalyses sustainable development in host communities. The Minerals Commission will review CSR reports submitted by mining companies to ensure compliance with the guidelines. It is our expectation that the novel CSR programmes of mining companies will be synergised by the Minerals Development Fund Act when it is eventually promulgated,” he added.
He said Ghana is working with the Africa Minerals Development Centre under the support of the Africa Union to domesticate the Africa Mining Vision into a Country Mining Vision. As part of this, he said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has initiated a series of workshops to solicit ideas and views for consideration. “I am confident that the Chamber will make the requisite inputs to the endeavour.”