Briefing the media on the Commission’s vision on Tuesday, Mr Samson Boafo, Board Chairman said the first goal would be to provide the necessary investment environment for Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians to invest in the sector to spur economic growth.
He said to achieve this objective; the Minerals Commission would pursue measures, including timely processing of all mineral rights applications and permits.
“In view of this, we will introduce an online application and processing system to reduce delays in the mineral rights application processes,” he said.
We will also identify and develop new mineral potentials with the serious view of diversifying the minerals and mining sector through aggressive marketing and investment promotion.
Mr Boafo said the Commission would also facilitate training of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to provide goods and services to the mining sector.
He said the Commission would in the coming months, explore avenues to seek funding to invest in geological investigations and generate detailed information in designated areas for demarcation to small scale miners.
We will also develop close collaboration with the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners to meet their regulatory requirements as well as assist them to develop their operations into medium and eventually large scale Ghanaian owned mines.
He said the Board’s Vision was to ensure that the sector becomes one of the key employment creating sector of the economy and the Board planned to do this through aggressive growth of businesses in the sector.
Again, the Commission will be expanding its frontiers to map out deposits of industrial minerals across the country.
This will be packaged as part of the Commission’s investment drive for prospective investors in the construction industry, thereby creating employment for a lot more people in the mining sector.
To ensure that more mining companies come on stream for people to gain employment in the sector, the Board will engage the exploration companies in the country to see how best to assist them invest more in defining resources and reserves for mining.
Value addition will be pursued with close collaboration with jewellers, gold smiths and small scale miners to create additional employment for Ghanaians.
Mr Boafo said to improve safety, enhance sustainability and reduce the environmental impacts from the onset, the Commission would work with key agencies such as the EPA, Water Resources Commission to ensure compliance with Health, Safety and Environmental standards.
“Destruction of the environment, deforestation and pollution of water bodies will not be entertained,” he said.
In this direction, the Commission will re-organise the Monitoring and Inspection Activities with the creation of new regional, district offices and about 14 satellite offices to ensure effective monitoring and inspection of operations.
The enforcement functions of the Commission would also be strengthened to effectively regulate cyanide and explosive transportation, handling and storage.
He said the Commission also had plans to introduce new training and certification programmes to improve health and safety in the mines as well, to ensure a reduction in anticipated accidents at mine sites.
He appealed to the media to support the Commission to educate, especially illegal miners, to mainstream their activities and also publicize positive ‘stories of change’ in mining communities.
Mr Addae Antwi-Boasiako, the Chief Executive Officer Minerals Commission, said the new offices to be set up would enable the Commission to be close to areas where mining activities take place and to ensure effective monitoring.