Pressure group, Occupy Ghana, has issued a seven-day ultimatum for government to furnish the public with further and better particulars on proposals by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) towards the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining.
According to the group, the Inter-Ministerial Committee must make available the report of a comprehensive audit of the sector and a list of small-scale mining companies which have been granted license among other things.
Speaking to Citi News, a member of Occupy Ghana, Ing. Nana Sarpong Agyeman-Badu said they would take legal action if the report is not made available within the stipulated time.
He also insisted that per law, the small-scale mining license ought to receive parliamentary ratification, but such has not been done.
“Seven days from today, should we not get any information we will look at the option of going to court to compel them to give us that information. In the constitution, they must get parliamentary ratification for their licenses. But in engaging the Minerals Commission last year, none of the small-scale mining companies had parliamentary ratification which meant that they were mining illegally. So if they were mining illegally and the banning has been put in place, we would expect that they will start doing the right thing by taking all these licenses to parliament,” he added.
The government was compelled to issue a ban on all forms of small-scale mining in 2017, at the time the menace was destroying the county’s land, forests and water resources.
Analysts warned that Ghana might resort to the importation of clean water in the next two decades if the threat is not eradicated.
The government has subsequently given the assurance that it may lift the ban on all forms of small-scale mining by the end of 2018.
But Occupy Ghana in a letter to the Minerals Commission called for parliamentary ratification of small-scale mining licenses, and the roadmap for the lifting of the ban made available.
Below is the full letter:
The Chief Executive Officer
RE: PARLIAMENTARY RATIFICATION OF MINERAL RIGHTS, MINING BY FOREIGNERS, AND THE ROAD MAP FOR THE LIFTING OF THE BAN ON SMALL SCALE MINING
OccupyGhana® has taken note of the recent announcement by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) on the roadmap to the lifting of the ban placed on artisanal and small-scale mining. While we continue to interrogate what seems to be a hurriedly put together proposal by the IMCIM, we are deeply concerned about your role as the regulator and wish to seek some clarification, particularly in view of our previous engagement with your office on these matters.
Our primary concern stems from the following three issues, which we have had cause to bring to your attention at various times in 2017:
1. The unconstitutionality of licenses and leases granted to persons for the purposes of exploiting Ghana’s mineral wealth without specific parliamentary ratification;
2. The legality or otherwise of foreigners engaged in small-scale mining in Ghana; and
3. The devastation of our forests and water bodies by the illegal activities of mining.
In your letter to us dated 3rd May 2017, you said that “the commission had recommended to the minister to impose a moratorium on granting new licenses while the commission carries out a comprehensive review and audit of all small-scale mining licenses granted to date.”
Further, in meetings with your team in May 2017, we were informed of the existence of the Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP), which sought to solve the identified problems with illegal mining.
We find that the above issues have not been adequately addressed and that is why we write to you to seek clarification as follows:
1. Has Parliamentary Ratification or exemption of Licences been obtained?
2. May we have copies of reports of your comprehensive audit of the sector and the findings?
3. May we also have the list of companies which have been granted small scale mining licenses, with the names of owners, addresses and contact numbers and any other relevant information?
4. What is the status of the Multilateral Mining Integration Project proposal and its role, if any, in the new roadmap?
We kindly request that you furnish us with your response by Monday 24th September 2018.
Yours in the service of God and Country,
1. The Minister
Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources
2. The Minister
Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology, and Innovation
3. The Chief of Staff
4. The Right Honourable Speaker