The Liaison Group for Mining in Forest Reserves has successfully completed the conversion of the Environmental Guidelines for Mining in Forest Reserves into Legislative Instrument (L.I)to provide legal backing for the regulation of mining operations in Forest reserves in Ghana.
The L.I, labeled, ’Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves Regulations, 2022, L.I 2462) was passed and came into force in November 2022.
The L.I, which consists of 54 provisions is meant to among others provide for the environmental management of mining activities in forest reserves through efficient use and protection of natural resources, effective stakeholder consultation, and participation on issues relating to mining in forest reserves; as well as effective and efficient administration and disbursement of the zero point six percent of the value of minerals mined and paid as environmental and ecological services commitment by mining companies operating in forest reserves.
Explaining the content of the L.I to stakeholders at a sensitization workshop in Accra on Wednesday, Mr. Seidu Aminu from the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Justice said the LI seeks to ensure that the benefits of the local community from mining in forest reserves are maximized.
He stated that there are provisions in the L. I discuss Exploration Activities in Forest Reserves, Prohibited Areas, Emergency Response Plan, Regulatory Requirements for mining in Forest Reserves, Excavation and Drilling in forest reserves, Preservation of Water Resources, Cessation of Exploration, Operation of Phase of Mining Activities in Forest reserves, Maintenance of Drainage, Slopes and engineered Structures, Operation of a Mine in a forest reserve among other relevant provisions.
In a post-workshop interview, the Chairman of the Liaison Group, Ing. Ransford Sakyi indicated that the meeting was to unveil the new regulation which was promulgated last year in November seeking to regulate mining operations in our forest reserves.
Mr Sakyi pointed out that over the years Ghana has been operating or monitoring mining activities in the Forest reserves with a guideline.
“After 23 years of the usage of the guideline, it has become necessary to turn this into law because when investors come in, they want to see a law. Some of them think that the guideline is not adequate to regulate.
“Previously in the guideline, there were no clear cuts, or directives in terms of mineral exploration. This L. I now give clear guidance through which we can explore. That is conduct prospecting activities in the reserve.
“So there are clear-cut rules or provisions that seek to address in terms of how you can enter a forest to construct an access route to a mineral deposit, how you will monitor, how you will drill. This law provides for that. It is also about legitimizing the 0.6 ecological fees that are going to be paid by the investor to assist the liaison group and the communities within the forest zone. About 50 percent is supposed to be used for development within the catchment communities, 30 percent for administration, and 20 percent for further development. So that gives a clear directive.” Mr Sakyi further clarified.
The Liaison Group consists of the Environmental Protection Agency(EPA), Minerals Commission, Water Resources Commission, Forestry Commission, Geological Survey Authority, Ghana Chamber of Mines, and some Civil Society organizations working in the environment and mining sub-sectors.
By: Mohammed Suleman/ Publicagendagh.com