Mr. Anthony Aggrey, the Wassa East District Chief Executive, has appealed to small-scale miners not to give out part of their concessions to illegal miners.
He said mineral right holders in some parts of the district are allowing illegal miners to operate on their concessions and this had contributed to extensive degradation of lands and water bodies.
Mr. Aggrey was speaking at a sensitization workshop for stakeholders on the “Obligations of the mineral right holder: What land owners and lawful occupiers must know” organized by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission at Daboase.
He said the Pra River had become polluted to the extent that Ghana Water Company was finding it difficult to treat it for human consumption.
Mr. Desmond Boahem, an Inspector of Mines, said chiefs could acquire licence to undertake small scale mining which is reserved for Ghanaians and added “The law does not prevent Chiefs from acquiring licence for small-scale mining as Ghanaians.”
Mr. Boahem said mining licence granted to chiefs could be revoked if they did not operate within the confines of the law, adding that small-scale mining or mining on 25-acre concessions must not disadvantage the environment and the people.
He said everybody was empowered to ensure that the environment was protected and not destroyed and the Minerals Commission investigates complaints on mining operations.
Mr. Boahem urged mining companies to promote minerals local content by developing a database of local suppliers to include company’s details, products and services and give top priority to contracts and orders to local suppliers.
The companies must also provide and share information on ongoing operational needs and capital projects for dissemination to local businesses, he said.
Mr. Lawrence Agudu, an Inspector of Mines, said the law required the mineral right holder to obtain the necessary approvals and permits from the Forestry Commission (FC) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for the protection of natural resources, public health and the environment.
He said mining companies must start operation within 18 months after receiving the licence or the licence would become invalid.
Mr. Agudu said mining companies were to prepare environmental management plans within the first 18 months of operation and the plans had to be revised every three years.
He said companies could apply for environmental certificate after two years of operation. GNA