The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, has cautioned mining companies to seek permission before undertaking any mining activity in the Eastern Region.
Speaking during a stakeholder engagement, he issued a warning to mining companies in the region to operate strictly within the remit of the mining regulations.
“Any person who wants to engage in the extractive industry,;be it gold, diamond, be it manganese, bauxite limestone, sand anything,;you will require permission before you can go ahead to do that extractive activity, called mining.”Seth Acheampong
According to him, the era where mining companies engaged in infractions but escaped unpunished is a thing of the past. In this regard, he said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will see to the certification of these companies.
“By that same effect,;knowledge has thought us that we require to protect our environment hence the needed requirement we pursue with our Environmental Protection Agency. So, EPA will also have to certify that you are not going against any of the regulations so far established.
“Because of our natural bodies, the water bodies,; our natural forest that we have outlawed and establish that no person must enter the forest,; which is reserved and restricted, without lawful authority”Seth Acheampong
Gov’t committed to ensuring sustainable environment
Mr. Seth Acheampong said the Akufo-Addo-led government is committed to securing a sustainable environment for the future generation hence will ensure that forest reserves, water bodies, and all other natural ecosystems are secured and protected from pollution and degradation.
The Regional minister urged mining companies to respect the 100-meter buffer zone for roads, forest reserves, streams, rivers, railway lines. He added that they must also adhere to the 300 meters demarcation from electric pillion and national installations as captured in the cadastral map and established by regulations.
Mr. Acheampong further iterated government’s directive that mining in forest reserves and water bodies is prohibited.
The Regional Minister held a stakeholder engagement on responsible mining at Nkawkaw in the Eastern Region today, August 19, 2022. The stakeholders who participated include various mining companies, chiefs, and other stakeholders in Kwahu West, Kwahu East, and Birim North districts.
MMDAs must check licenses
Also speaking at the meeting, the Eastern Regional Director of EPA, Felix Addo-Okyere, charged the Municipal and District Assemblies to ensure that mining companies that come to their jurisdiction to operate produce valid lease, digging and Environmental permits before they are granted business operating permits.
He also disclosed that only seven large and small-scale mining companies are recognized to have met all the requirements and permitted to operate in the region. However, he noted that there are some six other mining companies without full permit in the region.
He then warned them to complete the processes before undertaking any mining activity.
The Eastern Regional Director of the Minerals Commission, Joshua Quaye-Sowah, also noted that some mining companies beginning their permit acquisition processes use prospecting licenses to engage in mining.
He said such acts constitute illegality and firms found culpable will be dealt with according to law.