Small-scale mining licence procedure transparent – Commission
In a statement issued in Accra and copied to the Ghana News Agency, the Commission said the small scale mining license acquisition process is guided by the Minerals and Mining Act and the Minerals and Mining (Licensing) Regulations.
The Commission explained that the process started with an applicant identifying an area of interest and contacting the District Officer of the Commission responsible for the area to initiate the application process in line with the Commission’s policy to decentralise the application process.
It said at the District Office of the Commission, the area is checked to find out whether it is free or encumbered, and an official search report is then issued to the applicant in that respect.
“If the search report shows the area is unencumbered, the applicant may go ahead to complete an application form and prepare a site plan for submission to the District Office of the Minerals Commission,” it said.
On receipt of the application, the Commission would process the application, including inspecting the site to verify the accuracy of the site plan and forward- the application to the relevant District Assembly for a 21-day publication.
The District Assembly is required to return the results of the publication to the Minerals Commission, signed by the District Chief Executive.
It said if there is no objection to the application and the applicant’s proposals for carrying out the mining operations are determined to be satisfactory, the Commission would make a recommendation to the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources for the grant of a small scale mining license.
These applications would be dealt with on a first come first considered basis, which means that, no application would be considered until the first in time goes through the process and is rejected.
The statement emphasised that the licensing procedure is neutral and based on merit.
“In line with the Commission’s continuous efforts to further deepen the transparency in the license acquisition process, a Minerals Cadastre Administration System, a computer-based online cadaster is being introduced, which will show the entire licensing procedure online, including details of applicants and the areas granted”.
The Commission denied knowledge of any ‘unofficial leasing of mining concessions to miners’.
It said whilst the law permits the transfer of mineral rights to Ghanaians subject to the approval of the Minister, any information relating to specific illegal transfer of mineral licenses should be brought to the attention of the Commission for redress.
Also, periodically the Minister creates designated areas or blocked-out areas for small-scale mining under Section 89 of Act 703.
“Typically, these areas are created from areas surrendered by some mining or exploration companies”.
The areas found to be suitable for small-scale mining would be mapped and demarcated in accordance with the number of blocks prescribed for small scale mining licenses, and made available to interested Ghanaians in the relevant districts.
If an applicant followed the procedure summarised above and meets the requirements for operating a mine, the Commission would make a recommendation to the Minister for the grant of the licence.
It would also be inaccurate to suggest that non-miners are ineligible to apply for small-scale mining license or any mineral rights for that matter.
The statement said under section 83 of Act 703, the key qualifications for a small scale mining license are Ghanaian citizenship and age (minimum of 18 years).
“Therefore, an owner of a mine would not require being miner; so long as he or she could show that competent persons would be employed to work on the concession.