Council of State Chair wants changes to licensing in mining sector

Chairman of the Council of State Dr. Nana Otuo Siriboe II has called for a relook at Ghana’s mining licensing regime to sanitize the sector.

Speaking on Saturday, July, 24 at the end of a three-day familiarization tour of the Western Region by the Council to equip members with the realities on the grounds to better advise the president, Dr Nana Otuo Siriboe II said they are not happy with what they witnessed.

“We have not been very happy ourselves with the licensing regime and we have engaged the Minister for Lands [and Natural Resources] when the minister was with us the first time, before they started the [Galam halt] operation.”

The tour took them to the operational headquarters of the Ghana National Petroleum Authority (GNPC) currently under construction in Takoradi, the Volta River Authority’s Aboadze Power Enclave at Aboadze in the Shama District, the Atuabo Gas Plant at Atuabo and a galamsey site at Teleku- Bokazo in the Ellembelle District.

After touring the galamsey sites, Dr Nana Otuo Siriboe II, who is also the Paramount Chief of Juaben Traditional Area, called for a total relook at the licensing regime and the involvement of the local communities.

“For example, how can someone get a Mining License before an EPA License? We are putting the cart before the horse.

“If he elects not to go to the EPA, he can go ahead and destroy the environment. So we have to take a look at the whole gamut of the registration regime and the milieu.”

He believes there should be alternative livelihood projects such as farming for illegal miners if the canker can be dealt with holistically.

“You know lives have been lost. People have been making a living out of galamsey and when you remove them from here without any means of livelihood, you are creating immediate social problems.

“This area, for example, if the area is reclaimed, it can be used to plant vegetables. There are hotels in Takoradi, Atuabo and all around, if you grow lettuce here, you are good to go so. We should be thinking through, and these are some of the issues that will be engaging our attention when we go back,” he stated.

Dr. Nana Otuo Siriboe II also called for the involvement of the local communities to help sanitize the mining sector.

“From what we have learnt from the site, if the locals are involved in the whole process of granting, monitoring and subsequent assessments, maybe we can get far.”

By Ewurama Smith|Connect FM|3news.com|Ghana

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