Pix: Baffour Agyei Kesse IV, Adumhene of Kumasi
BAFFUOR AgMGYEI Kesse IV, the Adumhene has absolved chiefs of complicity in the spate of illegal mining activities in the country.
The Kumasi chief says chiefs cannot be blamed for the increase in illegal mining activities in parts of the country emphasizing that chiefs do not have the power to neither encourage it nor stop the practice.
He said the increase in illegal mining, which has resulted in heavy pollution of water bodies and the degradation of forests and the environment over the years, should be blamed on the Minerals Commission which is empowered by the 1992 Constitution of Ghana to administer the mining industry in Ghana.
Together with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, the Minerals Commission was established under the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) with the statutory purpose of the “regulation and management of the utilisation of the mineral resources and the coordination of the policies in relation to them”.
The chief also pointed to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703), as amended by the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2015 (Act 900), the Minerals and Mining (Amendment) Act, 2019 (Act 995), and the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) as well as the Minerals Development Fund Act, 2016 (Act 912) and the environment-related laws such as the Environmental Protection Act, 1994 (490) and several other legislation among other enactments which empower the Minerals Commission as the sole regulator of the mining industry.
By the said legislations, Baffuor Agyei Kesse affirmed that chiefs cannot stop miners who come to their jurisdictions with legal documentations from the Minerals Commission to engage in mining after the grant of rights, mining leases among other permits.
Baffuor Agyei Kesse mentioned that what pertains currently is for the Minerals Commission to accept, process and/or recommend the grant of mining leases and rights and renewal and extension of exploration and prospecting licences in forest reserves by miners without the involvement and consent of chiefs.
“How then are chiefs to be blamed for the galamsey menace when state officials and officialdom are directly involved in regulation and management of the mining industry”, the chief queried.
Baffuor Agyei Kesse emphasized that chiefs can only be blamed when they abuse the trust and their involvement accorded them by the Minerals Commission to be part of the regulation and management of the mining industry.
The Adumhene has therefore called for the involvement of chiefs in regulating mining operations saying as landowners, chiefs should be part of approval of concessions.
“Until the role of nananom in regulating the mining industry is recognized by the government, the Minerals Commission should, in fairness to them (chiefs) stop passing the buck to chiefs. Shifting the blame and the blame game altogether.
He has, therefore, suggested that the Minerals Commission adopt pragmatic measures to address the challenge once and for all.
By Kow Richardson