Moves to overhaul mining regime underway
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and the Minerals Commission have entered into partnership with a consortium of institutions to help overhaul the country’s mining regime to ensure optimum benefit from the sector.
The consortium comprises the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Natural Resources Centre (ANRC), the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI) and the Africa Legal Support Facility (ALSF).
Already, a process has begun to review specific mining lease applications and terms of agreements that had been granted some investors in the interest of the nation.
The Technical Advisor to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Benjamin Nii Ayi Aryee, who disclosed this, added that work was ongoing to review mining laws and regulations to be in line with emerging issues in the sector.
Mr Aryee was speaking at the opening of a one-week capacity-building workshop for technical staff of the Minerals Commission and related state agencies in Aburi in the Eastern Region yesterday.
The initiative forms part of measures to overhaul the contracting regime in the extractive sector to ensure that the country gets optimum benefits from its mineral resources, among other objectives.
The workshop is also aimed at transfering expertise in the economic and financial modeling of mining projects to the technical staff of the Minerals Commission and other stakeholders, such as the ministries of Lands and Natural Resources and Finance and the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).
Mr Aryee explained that the training programme was the last of a three-point agenda to overhaul existing regimes in the mining sector.
He said through collaborations among relevant state institutions and the consortium, specific mining lease applications and terms under which they were granted to investors had been reviewed, while some mining laws were also receiving attention.
"The third leg of the holistic move to overhaul the regimes in the mining sector is the building of the capacity of the technocrats who work directly in negotiating agreements and those who implement the agreements.
"The capacity building will help them understand the implications of the concessions that they grant because they will know how to develop models to ensure that the right things are done," he added.
Mr Aryee said the programme would also help cure some weaknesses in the current contracting regime because the technical staff lacked in-depth knowledge of negotiations.
"Once we begin to run the right model, the officials who engage in negotiations of mining agreements for the country will not be coming from the point of ignorance but rather from the point of knowledge, and that way they can put all the cards on the table and negotiate well in the interest of the country," he said.
The Chief Minerals Officer at the AfDB, Mr Jerry Kwame Ahadjie, said the effort being made by the government to review the country’s mining laws and regulations to reflect emerging issues in the sector was a step in the right direction.
“These laws and regulations were passed in 2006 and 2012, respectively, and so Ghana needs to review them to reflect practices and emerging issues,” he said.
He said such an initiative was a major step towards harnessing the potential of mineral resources to benefit the country.
Mr Ahadjie asked the government to consider collaborating with other countries in the sub-region to develop economies of scale in the mining sector.
“Ghana cannot really continue to operate in isolation because to be able to address the challenge of economies of scale, there should be a regional approach to tackling the issues in the mining sector.
This is how the countries can marshal all the forces to produce on a large scale to the levels of countries such as India and China,” he added.
He also called on countries in the sub-region to deploy the right technologies to help harness their mineral resources for the development of their economies.