ACCRA – Stakeholders in Ghana’s mining industry here on Tuesday underscored the need for a new mining law for the country to replace the existing Act 703.
“We have displaced more than 60 000 landlords who have many dependants yet have nothing substantial to show for the extreme suffering mining operations have inflicted on our people,” said Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, executive director for a mining industry advocacy group.
The West African sub-regional body Ecowas introduced a Harmonised Mining Code for all 16 member-states in 2012 which is seen by many as more beneficial for the countries but Ghana is yet to update its Mineral and Mining Act to conform to the subregional code.
Ghana started attracting heavy Foreign Direct Investment into its mining sector after its earlier mining law of 1986 gave attractive incentives to investors.
“It would be necessary to remind ourselves that the mining industry goes through a cycle of boom and bust. We have missed the opportunities of the third gold boom because of our weak regulatory framework which provides adequate protection for the mining companies and very little protection for the national interest,” Owusu-Koranteng lamented.
She suggested that the country makes amends by making provision in the new proposed law for “no go” zones to protect vulnerable communities and important national landmarks, amongst others.
However, Amadu Sorogho, chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, rejected suggestions that mining had only brought negative results to Ghana.
“If for nothing at all, the sector has offered employment to thousands of Ghanaians directly and indirectly,” he noted, adding however that work would be done to ensure the regulatory loopholes were dealt with.
Augustine Nuber, executive director of the centre for Public Interest Law, a human interest advocacy group, also called for the proposed new law to be in harmony with the Ecowas mining code to create an even regulatory environment across the subregion.