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27.07.2005 General News

Call for further consultation on Minerals and Mining Bill


Accra, July 27, GNA - The Ghana National Coalition on Mining on Thursday appealed to Parliament to delay the passage of the Minerals and Mining Bill for further and wider consultation with stakeholders. Dr Yaw Graham, a member of the Coalition, who addressed a press conference held in Accra, said the Bill, already before Parliament, was intended to give Ghanaians the first opportunity in 20 years to review the state of mining in the country.

"Rushing its passage would be considered a lost opportunity to the majority of constituents involved in mining," adding that the opportunity to make contribution to the Bill should not be considered as a privilege to a few, but rather involving all interested parties. He said the inadequacy in designing the law meant the law was lopsided.

Dr Graham said Parliament gave two weeks for the submissions of memoranda on the Minerals and Mining Bill, "but the two-week notice was woefully inadequate for other stakeholders to participate in the consultation".

He said experience had shown that mining in Ghana for the past 20 years had not done well in terms of the net returns to national economic development, environmental protection and community rights. While suggesting a revision of the current law to seek to maximise the net returns, offer concrete provisions for environmental protection and enhance community interest, Dr Graham said the current Bill is replete with provisions that sought to offer further protection and incentive for large-scale mining companies.

Dr Graham said: "We need to create the necessary mechanisms that allow for democratic development," adding that the Coalition was ready to help to reach the constituencies to solicit views on the law. "We believe that a further and wider consultation on the Bill will provide information that can balance the various competing interests associated with mining," he said.

Mr Augustine Niber of the Centre for Public Interest Law called on Parliament to redraft the law and exclude areas such as Forest reserves from mining sites.

The clause that the Mining Department be made part of the Minerals Commission should also be reconsidered due to the conflict of interest between the two institutions.