By Edmund Smith-Asante
|Which way are we going as a country, Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng seems to be asking at the workshop|
Although Ghana is the ninth largest exporter of gold in the world and the second largest in Africa, the country is not earning what is due it because it has no mining policy, the Associate Executive Director of Wacam, a civil society organisation (CSO), Mrs Hannah Owusu-Koranteng, has said.
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng told the Daily Graphic that “if you go to the regulators they tell you that we have developed a draft, final draft, but a draft policy is still a draft.
“So as we mine and we sit and talk today, Ghana has no policy on mining.”
Effects of mining without a policy
The associate executive director of Wacam noted that the absence of a mining policy did not only affect the country but meant that the country was mining without a direction or focus.
“You mine and mine and you don’t even know why you are mining.
“Once you do not have the policy, it is just like you living in a home with a bowl of money and you dipping your hands into the bowl without knowing what you are using the money for. So a time will come when you dip your hands into the bowl and there will be nothing but you cannot account for what that operation or activity has done to improve your livelihood.”
“If you have a policy on mining, then you should go ahead and develop safeguards as to which lands should be mined, which lands should not be mined, where not to trespass in the forest reserves and things like that and even what to use your mining benefits for because mining is not a sustainable investment,” she said.
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng said as long as Ghana continued to mine without a clear direction, it was depriving future generations of the benefits of the minerals being mined, which would be exhausted one day.
Touching on the benefits to be derived from a policy, she said it would indicate the number of years the government would want to mine, the projections in terms of revenue generation, the portion of that revenue to restore the environment and how the rest would be invested in the economy to have sustained livelihoods for future generations.
Currently, she said, what the country had which was close to a mining policy was the National Land Policy which was promulgated in 1999.
Mrs Owusu-Koranteng said currently Ghana had a lot of gaps in its mining laws and lacked clear indications in terms of direction.
Earlier, Wacam jointly organised a workshop with Care International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO).
Writer’s email: Edmund.Asante@graphic.com.gh
This was first published by the Daily Graphic on August 25, 2014