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20 March 2017 | Business & Finance

Mine closure training workshop opens in Accra


Accra, March 20, GNA - The Minerals Commission is holding a five-day workshop to train stakeholders in the mining industry on 'Mine Closure and Post Closure Planning' in Accra.

The workshop the first of its kind in Ghana is to present participants with a platform to draw on Canada's long experience in the mining sector as well as best mine practices and planning for implementing mine closure.

It is being facilitated by the Canadian International Resources and Development Institute (CIRDI) and funded by the Canadian government.

Addressing participants, Dr Toni Aubynn, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, indicated that mine closure plans generally included the creation of 'sustainable conditions that provide for public health and safety and environmental protection'.

He said mining did have 'marked negative impacts' on the natural environment, including changes in landscape and land use; as such it depended on how those impacts were managed from the outset to ensure the net benefits became positive.

Dr Aubynn noted that past mining operations had been guided by the policies and legislations that had existed then, although presently, public and stakeholder expectations had thus made revision of the legal and regulatory regimes governing mining operations imperative.

He observed that mine closure required key lessons bordering on the need for baseline monitoring data, challenges of handling contaminated mine waters such as acid and metalliferous drainage (AMD) and the need for effective and comprehensive stakeholder engagement.

The Minerals Commission Chief stated that the contribution of mining to economic development and judicious use of land was premised on the quality of laws and their effective enforcement.

'Thus, a creative approach is required to tackle environmental and social challenges to guarantee that the mining sector contributes to Sustainable Development rather than impede it,' he added.

Ms Tina Guthrie, Charge d' Affaires of CIRDI, expressed the interest of the Canadian government to be associated with the training workshop, indicating that the growth of the Ghanaian mining sector was a 'priority focus for Canada as 17 of their firms were presently engaged in the country.

She said Canada recognised the significance of the extractive sector as it could be an important driver of economic growth and poverty reduction in Ghana, hence the need to improve the best practices.

She said the timing of the training was apt and expected it to afford participants the opportunity to learn and subsequently implement best practices in mine closure.

'Obviously Canada did not get it right from the onset, but our long history in mining has allowed us to learn from our many mistakes to become one of the leading countries in the world for environmental and social practices related to mining,' she said.

She added that the course was technically inclined, focusing on the science, engineering and environmental aspects of mine closure.

She urged participants to take advantage of discussions on aspects of social and community engagement as well as gender inclusivity, which she said, were all equally important.