A regulatory framework aimed at guiding mining companies to ensure equitable development of their host communities is being developed, the Minerals Commission has stated.
Mining communities despite hosting big firms with millions of investments have often times not witnessed a corresponding community development activities with reported cases of lack of basic social amenities and degradation of the environment as a result of activities of these mining firms.
The Manager in-charge of Legal at the Mineral Commission, Josef Iroko who disclosed this said the move will provide a guideline for mining firms to dedicate a percentage of their proceeds to that course in agreement with the host communities.
Mr Iroko was speaking at the sidelines of a skill building workshop for civil society and media on mining contract analysis and the Ghana Mining Repository under at the auspices of Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI) in collaboration with the commission.
“There will be a requirement that mining companies will have to sit with the host communities and agree on development objectives for the area and that will be made part of the mining agreement before they are approved and under it we are expecting to devote a percentage of income from the mining operations to be used to fund development agreement in the area”, he stated.
According to him, mining communities are “being short-changed, that most of the time, the communities do not know what is happening, all they hear is that a mining company has come to their area. As part of some of these efforts, the Community Development Agreement will be used to address some of these issues.”
The new framework Mr Iroko disclosed will address what currently exists where the land owner or someone who has interest in the land or being affected, would have to negotiate with the company for the payment of compensation before work is carried out on the ground.
The Minerals commission has disclosed five development and investment agreements between Ghana and various mining companies namely Anglogold Ashanti, Goldfields Ghana (Tarkwa), Newmont Golden Ridge, Anglogold Obuasi Mine Redevelopment and Abosso Goldfields.
The Commission also launched the Ghana Mining Repository (GMR)2 which contains updated information on all mineral licenses issued in Ghana, the owner/company/entity and spatial maps of the license areas and resource type; however, significant challenges remain.
For instance, there is no legislative backing for the disclosure of mining agreements unlike in the petroleum sector. There is also little awareness among stakeholders of the existence of these agreements and license information and how to access them.
Mining is a key component of Ghana’s national economy; the country is Africa’s largest gold producer. The Covid-19 pandemic highlighted the mineral’s prominent role, as gold is seen as a safe investment during uncertain times.