A-Day’s Orientation Workshop on Ghana’s Mineral and Mining Laws has been organized for the Traditional Leaders in Duayaw-Nkwanta in the Ahafo Region of Ghana.
The workshop was organized by the Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG) and chaired by the Paramount Chief of Duayaw-Nkwanta, Nana Boakye Tromo III.
Speaking at the workshop, Mr. Richard Adjei-Poku (Executive Director) of Livelihood & Environment Ghana – LEG and resource person for the workshop took participants through Article 126 (1962), PNDC Law 153, Article 257 (6) of the 1992 Constitution and Section 1 of the Minerals and Mining Act (Act 703, 2006).
Mr. Adjei-Poku informed participants that in terms of ownership of Ghana’s minerals, all the articles mentioned above place the Republic of Ghana as the owner but vested in the President on behalf of, and in trust for the people of Ghana.
He revealed that the President, mineral rights-holder (mining company), and the mining-affected communities as the three major stakeholders when it comes to mining operations in Ghana. Each of the three stakeholders, according to him, has some basic rights and responsibilities provided by the various mining regulations.
He explained that the President has the power for compulsory acquisition of land and property per Article 20 (2) of the Constitution and section 2 of the Minerals and Mining Act, Act 703, 2006. He further disclosed that, the President has the power to grant a mineral license, revoke, suspend, terminate or punish mineral rights holder offenders (sections 5, 68, 69, 87, 99, Act 703, 2006).
Mr. Adjei-Poku outlined the powers of the mining companies which include the power of entry, power for reconnaissance, prospecting, exploration and mining. He also mentioned mining companies’ power to obtain, divert, impound, convey rivers, streams and underground reservoirs and power to export, dispose or sell minerals ( sections 9 (1), 13 (9), 17 and 6 (1) of Act 703, 2006.
Elaborating on the powers and rights of the mining-affected communities, he mentioned that the constitution and the mining law acknowledge the mining-affected communities as lawful occupiers and have surface right over the land. And those powers and rights can only be taken by prompt payment of fair and adequate compensation, referencing (Article 20 (2a), section 73(1) and section 74 (1a to 1 g) of Act 703, 2006).
He said the sector minister and Newmont owe the people particularly, the Chiefs who are Allodial owners right to information about the development of the mine even before the commencement of the mining operation (section 13 (1,2, 3a,).
The traditional leaders were disappointed about the failure of Newmont as well as the sector minister to share information regarding the Ahafo North operation as stipulated in the Act.
Mr. Adjei-Poku disclosed the communities have access to compensation payment within three months after an amount of compensation has been determined and have further access to ten percent interest on the amount for each month that the compensation remains unpaid by the company (Section 4 (1 and 2 of CRR, 2012).
On the issue of resettlement, the Executive Director revealed that the displaced inhabitants are supposed to be resettled in suitable alternative land with due regard to their economic well-being, social and cultural values (Article 20 (3) of the constitution, section73(4) of Act 703, 2006 and section 6 (1) of the L.I. 2175 CRR, 2012. Again, he disclosed that the mining leaseholder has the responsibility to engage the relevant District Assembly, Chiefs and community the inhabitants to be displaced on resettlement planning and implementation (section7 (a) of the L.I 2175, CRR, 2006).
On her part Mrs. Felicity Ashon a spokesperson for Afrisipa women farmers thanked the traditional leaders for availing themselves of the training and used the opportunity to express her sincere gratitude to the Global Green grants Fund (GGF) for supporting the advocacy work of the Afrisipa community and women farmers in particular.
She pleaded with the chiefs to support the course of the property owners and for that matter women farmers to get a better compensation package from Newmont in order to achieve SDGs 1, 2, 3 and 13 which aim at ending poverty, zero hunger, quality education and sustainable life for all.
Livelihood and Environment Ghana (LEG) is a registered National NGO establised in 2004 to promote environmental justice, community rights, and sustainable livelihoods