The Ghana Chamber of Mines has dismissed claims that some of its member companies, particularly Newmont, are engaged in large scale illegal mining activities because of the non-ratification of their leases by Parliament.
“We take a very strong exception to this statement because as far as we are concerned, the mining companies have satisfied all the requirements of the state prior to commencing operations,” Mr Sulemana Koney, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Chamber, said in an interview.
He said the Chamber members were operating within the confines of the law after they had met stringent regulations and procedures in line with the permits granted them by the relevant regulatory bodies.
“What is required of a mining company to start operations be it a mining lease, environmental permit and operating permit, the companies have secured all to start operation,” he said.
He said while there was a point that the leases had not been presented to Parliament, that did not make the operations of the companies illegal since they had obtained the necessary permits from the state to commence operations.
Besides, Mr Koney said it was not the responsibility of a mining company to submit a lease to Parliament for ratification and that the onus lay on the executive, whose duty it was to forward such agreements to Parliament.
He said while the Chamber agreed that the rule of law must be respected, it disagreed with the description of the operation of some of its members as ‘galamsey’ because of the failure of the executive to have the leases ratified by Parliament.
Mr Koney said it took more than a lease to start a mining operation as the companies had to also meet other requirements, especially the environmental and operating permit, adding that it may take a company more than two years after a lease to commence operation.
He said the Chamber had, on various platforms, called for the speedy ratification of mining leases by Parliament to end the impression that affected companies were operating illegally.
Mr Koney, therefore, called on Parliament to use the channels at its disposal to seek explanation from the executive why the mining leases had not been brought for ratification. GNA