The Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission (MC) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), have underscored the need for collaboration with the local authorities to regulate the granting of permits to estate developers.
This two outfits say, would avoid conflict between mineral operators and host communities.
Mr Stephen N. K. Piedu, Chief Inspector of Mines and Mr Alfred Aya, Western Regional Principal Environmental Programme Officer, made this known when answering questions at a day’s workshop in Takoradi on: “Sustainability of industrial minerals operations,” for quarry operators and mineral companies drawn from the Region.
They called for effective collaboration with the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to enable the MC and EPA to offer expert advice on the appropriate placement of developments far away from mineral and quarry concessions.
Much of these quarry concessions are concentrated in the Shama District of the Region.
Mr Piedu said Act 703 of 2006 of the mineral law stipulates that a buffer zone of 500 meters must be allocated between the enclave and developments, “but this is ignored by the MMDAs, which issue permits for developments closer to mineral concessions”.
He called for the reactivation of quarry activities in the Region, which has been dormant for some time, saying formerly the Region had about 40 quarries, but now only five are operating.
Mr Piedu noted that the Oil and Gas discovery must serve as encouragement to entrepreneurs in the area to step up businesses.
In order to build trust in their operations, Mr Piedu stressed on transparency through dialogue for the expression of views and suggestions.
Mr Aya advised quarry operators and sand winners to make judicious use of the resources by reclaiming the land after use for the preservation of present and future generations.
He said in the event of acquisition of land for business, landowners and the users of the land must equally be compensated in order to avoid conflicts.
The Senior Inspector of Mines, Mr Evans Adade, said non-citizens have been given the opportunity to transact business in the mineral sector therefore Ghanaians who venture into the industry and later transfer ownership to foreigners would forfeit their rights and the law would deal with them.
The participants raised concerns of cracks in buildings because of blasting of quarry operations and small-scale mining.