Ban Mining In Ghana
5/24/2012 4:32:12 PM -
People living in mining communities in Ghana have called for a total ban on mining because their lives have worsened since mining operations began in their respective communities.
According to the communities affected by mining activities, they have not benefited from the mines but have rather seen increases in strange diseases such as HIV/AIDS, skin rashes, poverty, deprivation, famine and human rights abuses by the multinationals through the help of the police.
This came to light during a forum on the Minerals and Mining Laws organized by the Centre For Public Interest Law (cepil) at Kenyasi, a major mining community in the Asutifi District of the Brong Ahafo region.
The forum, which was attended by people affected by mining activities in various parts of the region, was meant to solicit their concerns and inputs to review the current Minerals and Mining Law Act 703 (2006) to promote the interest of mining communities and the nation as a whole.
The participants called for the consent of would-be mining communities and land owners before government grants mining concessions in any part of the country.
They also asked for an adjustment in the payment of royalties and property rates by mining companies to the government and the affected communities in order to ensure maximum benefit of the mining operations in the country.
Currently, all the mining companies only pay 3 per cent royalties quarterly based on production value though the law has fixed it between 3 and 6 percent. The property tax is just around 0.3 per cent to 3 per cent per annum paid on the basis of the estimated value of owned property to the affected people.
The participants also called for a policy to make some special places like the cemetery and forest reserves a no-go area for mining activities.
Ghana accounted for around 4 per cent of the world's gold production. The country is the world's 9 th biggest producer of gold and the second in Africa. Ghana currently hosts two of the world's largest mining companies, AngloGold Ashanti and Newmont.
About 20 per cent of Ghana is today under mineral concession and the mining sector contributes about 12 per cent of Ghana's total corporate tax earnings, between 11 and 12 per cent of government revenue and roughly a third of Ghana's total exports.
Total mineral revenue in Ghana in 2009 was $2.38 billion and government revenue share is only 6.5 per cent, representing $155 million. The mining sector contributes 6 per cent of the GDP. This, the participants said, is unfortunate because bush meat even contributes more revenue to the state than mining.
They therefore called for a review of the law so as to maximize revenue from mining in the country or cease mining in Ghana.
FROM Fred Tettey Alarti-Amoako, Kenyasi