Communities in Amansie raise doubts about mining licenses

A number of mining communities in Amansie in the Ashanti Region have questioned the genuineness of concession rights and operating licenses being used by some small scale mining companies in the area.

According to the communities, all that those companies did was just to approach the district assemblies, post notices and after 21 days, considered them as having gone through the required processes for license.

Nana Afari Mintah Bowak, Santanhene of the Kokofu Traditional Area, who expressed the concerns of the people, said the assemblies were not the rightful authority to grant mining concessions.

Small-scale miners must therefore go by the proper procedures for acquisition of mineral rights.

Nana Bowak, who is an assembly-member, was contributing to discussions at a day’s workshop on Community Resistance to Slavery and Forced Labour in Mining Communities held at Obuasi.

Social Support Foundation (SSF), a non-governmental organization organised the workshop and in attendance were opinion leaders drawn from the Obuasi and Bekwai Municipalities, and the Amansie West, Amansie Central and Adansi North Districts.

Nana Bowak said they found it difficult to understand why the small scale miners continued to operate with no regard for the environment and safety regulations.

Louis Acheampong, Executive Director of SSF, briefed the participants on steps that had to be followed in the acquisition of mineral rights and said although the small scale miner would have to notify the assemblies of the intention to mine the process did not end there.

“There are 14 steps to be followed including small scale miners completing forms which are sent to the Minerals Commission in Accra together with environmental impact assessment form completed by the district small scale mining officer,” he said.

Mr Acheampong said if the Commission was satisfied with the area, the small scale miner again had to obtain an environmental permit and sign an agreement with the Mines Ministry.

He said it was necessary for the communities to be aware of these arrangements to help check the abuse, especially of the environment, by small scale miners.

Source: GNA

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