The Western Regional Minister, Dr Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah is calling for the Mining Licensing procedure to be the responsibility of District Assemblies in order to help fasten the process.
He said the District Assemblies must be the focal point for development, but the resources of issuing mining licenses is the duty of the presidency which most of the time delays, making it difficult for the assembly to track the license for miners.
The Minister said there is a need to have a broader consultation on ways to regulate illegal mining in the region, and the country as a whole but it becomes difficult for the District Assemblies to fight illegal mining when they are not responsible for the licensing procedure.
Speaking at a stakeholders dissemination workshop on the 2020 reports on the mining and oil and gas sectors by the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GEITI) on Wednesday, September 6, the minister said, “In a situation where one person is issuing mining license, then we are expecting another person to go and chase illegal miners, it becomes difficult because they don’t have a budget.”
“But if they are taking the licensing money and they know exactly where the mines are, they cannot give an excuse on why there should be illegal mining at a location and claim they are not aware.”
“If they are doing the licensing and issuing them, they will know those places that they’ve not issued a license for anybody to mine… And also, if the monitoring team goes in, they cannot give an excuse why the land has not been reclaimed or people are using mercury to mine.”
Dr Kwabena Okyere Dako also asked about the sufficiency of mining and petroleum contribution to the national development effort in general, but also the wellbeing of its host communities, especially the Western Region which hosts a variety of natural resources God bestowed on this country.
He said that is where the EITI plays a pivotal role, through verification and publication of revenue received by the Government, from relevant natural resource sectors and its utilisation, which are then subjected to stakeholder validation.
He said, “The EITI process creates an opportunity for a broad range of stakeholders, including community members, some of whom are gathered here today at this Public Forum, to have access to information and create the platform for inclusiveness in policy formulation and decision-making that affects them.”