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Civil Society Holds Mining Dialogue
Posted on: 01-Aug-2012         Source: dailyguideghana.com
The Africa Mining Vision (AMV), in collaboration with Third World Network Africa (TWN-Africa), has held a forum on the reformation of Ghana’s mining laws in Accra.

Dr. Yao Graham, Executive Director of TWN-Africa, speaking at a day’s policy dialogue in Accra said “the recovery of the mining sector in Africa will require a shift in government objectives.”

He said “the change in focus of maximizing tax revenues from mining over the long term rather than pursuing economic or political objectives such as control of resources or enhancement of employment would be best achieved by a new policy emphasis whereby governments focus on industry regulation and promotion and private companies take the lead in operating, managing and owning mineral enterprises.

Dr. Graham described the mining sector as a major player in vibrant and competitive national, international capital and commodity markets.

Abraham Amaliba, legal practitioner at the Center for Public Interest Law (CEPIL), who cited the concerns of residents of mining communities, said government should not have the sole right to determine lands that are leased for mining purposes.

“As a result, land owners and community members should have a say as to whether their lands should be leased out for mining purposes,” he said.

Government, Mr. Amaliba said, should withdraw mining licenses in situations whereby mining companies engage in cyanide spillage.

“That Act 703 is not helpful to the communities where mining is undertaken. The harmful effects of mining far outweigh the gain that comes with the activities of the mining companies,” he said.

He further suggested that mining companies whose activities affect livelihoods should provide alternative sources of livelihood.

He called for the repeal of Section 17 of the Minerals and Mining Act which permits mining companies to divert, impound, convey and use water from rivers, streams, underground reservoir or watercourse on the land granted as concession.

“The penalty imposed on mining companies for polluting water bodies should take into account the number of fishes killed. Other offences such as degradation of their lands should attract a fine of not less than $500million,” he stated.

Augustine Niber, Executive Director of CEPIL, said the minister should give notice in writing of a pending application for the grant of a mineral right in respect of the land to a chief or landowner and the relevant District Assembly in not less than 45 days prior to making the decision.

Alhassan Atta-Quayson, Environment Programm Officer of TWN-Africa, said there must be a broad-based sustainable growth and socio-economic development through maximum linkages in mining.

By Eric Tetteh Ababio