Stakeholders undergo sensitization on Mining in Forest Reserves Regulations

Accra, April 28, GNA -The Liaison Group (LG) for Mining in Forest Reserves has held a sensitisation workshop for key stakeholders in the mining industry on the Environmental Protection (Mining in Forest Reserves) Regulations, 2022 to enhance the understanding of the key provisions of the law.

Speaking at the programme, the Deputy Executive Director of Operations at the EPA, Mr Ransford Sekyi, said it was important to come out with new regulations after 23 years of implementing the old guideline.

“Over the years, we’ve been monitoring mining activities with a guideline. After 23 years of operating this guideline, it has become necessary for us to turn it into law, because investors when they come in want to see a law. Some of them feel that these guidelines are not enough,” he said.

The law, which was passed by Parliament last year, has among other provisions clear rules about how prospecting can be done in the forest reserve.

It also covers how a mining company can enter a forest reserve, how they can construct an access road to a mineral deposit, how they monitor and how they drill.

He also indicated that the new law legitimised the 0.6 per cent charged on the value of minerals mined from these protected zones as Ecological Fee.

Fifty per cent of which will be used for development in the communities from which the mineral will be extracted. 30 per cent of this fee will be used for research and administration, while 20 per cent will go towards further development.

It also gives directives about prohibition, for areas which are expressly forbidden to be mined, except where there is a directive from the President.

“Previously in the guidelines, there were no clear cut directives in terms of mineral exploration. So, these guidelines now give a clear guidance through which we can initially explore and conduct prospecting activity in the reserves,” he said.

“So, there are clear cut rules are provisions that seeks to address in terms of how you can enter a forest to construct an access route to a mineral deposit, how you monitor, how you drill and all those these guidelines the law provides,” Mr Sekyi added.

Mr Sekyi was optimistic that the passage of the law would draw more foreign investment into the mining sector as the players in the sector would enjoy more security.

He noted that already, the Liaison Group has engaged with some communities where mining operations are ongoing to provide dome of their requested needs like roads, schools and other developmental infrastructure.

Representatives from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Minerals Commission, the Geological Survey Authority, the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the Water Resources Commission, and civil society attended the meeting.