A Sample Mining Bill is being developed to address the gaps inherent in the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703 of 2006 to ensure increased benefits for the country, mining communities as well as protect the environment.
It is being developed by WACAM, a community-based human rights and environmental mining advocacy NGO, in collaboration with the Centre for Public Interest Law (CEPIL) and Centre for Environmental Impact Analysis with support from IBIS, Care Ghana, and Ford Foundation.
It seeks to influence legal reforms in the country’s mining sector to reflect the guiding principles and policies of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Directives on mining.
The ECOWAS Directives on Mining provide for Free Prior and Informed Consent and the Polluter Pays Principles, which compel mining companies to respect community rights.
The forum was attended by civil society organisations and representatives of public regulatory institutions drawn from the Northern, Upper East and Upper West Regions.
Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, the Associate Executive Director of WACAM, who made a presentation on “Overview of Mining Investment in Ghana”, at a forum in Tamale, to collate input into the bill, said mining activities had led to environmental pollution, human rights abuses and loss of livelihoods of residents in mining communities.
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng said the destruction mining caused to the environment and livelihoods was far more than the benefits derived it, hence the need to amend the current Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703 of 2006 to guarantee increased benefits for the country.
Mr Augustine Niber, the Executive Director of CEPIL, said the sample bill sought to strengthen the country’s mining law to ensure more benefits to mining communities as well as to protect the environment.
Mr Niber said the bill advocated that a broad range of persons, including community members, must decide on issues of concession acquisition and compensation amongst others, as against the sole authority of the Minister in–charge of Mining sector, as prescribed by the current law. GNA