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Clarity on Community Mining Project to be established

Government is expected to commence a multi-stakeholder discussion with the Chamber of Mines and key players in the mining industry to set clarity on the operational framework and structure of the Community Mining Project (CMP) instituted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Mining (IMCM) as the alternative to illegal mining.

This follows a formal written proposal by the Chamber seeking for clarity of the project following series of encroachments on portions of mining concessions legally acquired by mining companies. The discussions will expectedly bring lucidity by, among other things, setting up the necessary legal framework on how portions of mining concessions can legally be relinquished to the participating communities for the community mining projects.

Following the launch of the project in July this year by President Nana Akufo-Addo, Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) in key mining jurisdictions across the country have demanded the relinquishment of segments of the mine concessions “in the name of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining for the Community Mining Programme”; the Chamber asserts. The Chamber insists these demands are illegal.

Reports indicate that the move by the MMDCEs has largely resulted in encroachment on large portions of legally acquired mining concessions by some armed community mining operators recently.

The situation has led to a number of mining companies expressing their displeasure over the issue since such community encroachers have invaded areas where mining companies have invested heavily in exploration.

Recently, Gold Fields Ghana, Newmont Ghana, AngloGold Ashanti, Obuasi, Golden Star Wassa, and Persus Mining have all complained about the rising encroachment on their concessions by some community mining operators.

In effect, stakeholders and industry players view this action as an illegal demand which contravenes the Minerals Commission’s regulations that regulate the industry.

The Director of External Relations and Communications of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Ahmed Nantogmah notes that the Chamber has urged all stakeholders in the Community Mining Programme to publish details of the programme to guide its implementation and to conscientize the public.

“If the pronouncements of the people engaging the activities are true, why is the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining mandating such MMDCEs to take over legally acquired concessions from member companies of the Chamber? Is it a government policy or it is a decision taken by the MMDCEs to make this illegal request?”, he asked.

Consequently, the Chamber has entreated government to undertake expansive exploration in demarcated areas to be apportioned to the community mining project operators for easy regulation. It has again asked its member companies to adhere to the strictest regulations and will only use the laid down processes through the Minerals Commission in relinquishing mining concessions to the community.

Already, an industry assessment carried out by the Chamber reveals Ghana is losing potential investors to emerging mining destinations in the West African sub-region, particularly Burkina Faso as a result of Government’s adamant position of charging mining companies Value Added Tax (VAT) on their exploration inputs, and as such multi-stakeholder discussions are deemed important to industry players.

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