Ghana mining regulators face compromise risk

Regulatory institutions in the mining sector stand the risk of being compromised in subtle attempts by the Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) to woo them.

The GCM has placed many regulatory institutions in the mining sector under its membership structure, classifying them as “associate members” and has published same on its official website:

The regulators include the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, the Minerals Commission, Geological Survey Department and the Atomic Energy Commission.

Apart from making these state regulatory institutions members of the chamber, which is the official mouthpiece of mining companies in the country, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of GCM, Sulemana Koney, recently told journalists in Takoradi that the chamber makes financial disbursements to these institutions to support their operational costs.

“Associate members are not required to pay any fees or dues to the chamber. Rather, it is the chamber that makes financial contributions to these institutions to support whatever they do,” he said.

“So here, the flow of money is from the chamber to members in this category but with other categories, it is the reverse,” he added.

As members, he said some of the regulatory institutions participate in meetings of the chamber in order to ensure that whatever the chamber does, is in line with relevant regulations.

He, however, disputed assertions that such a move could compromise the regulatory institutions in the discharge of their duties.

“We have no control over them. All that we are doing is to foster a very cordial relationship between them and the chamber,” he said.

“Those days where the regulator stands aside like a policeman with a cane waiting for you to go wrong so that he can lash you is passed. Today, the trend has changed. There’s the need to involve the regulators in whatever you do so that they can prompt you if there’s any danger ahead of you. That’s why we’ve made them part of us,” he explained.

A Deputy Chief Inspector of Mines of the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, Ing. Francis Mensah, also denied that the Inspectorate was being compromised.

He said though his outfit had a representative on the Technical Committee of the chamber, where issues concerning challenges confronting the mines were discussed, it was meant to improve the industry and nothing else.

But, some independent experts in the mining sector have described the move as a “rare practice” in the industry internationally and that, regulatory institutions stand the risk of being compromised.

By Marlvin-James Dadzie

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