Community development agreements to be inked in new mining guidelines

The Minerals Commission

The Minerals Commission has said it is seeking to forestall conflict situations between mining companies and host communities arising out of community development and other related issues going forward.

This is expected to be realised with the introduction of some new guidelines meant to ensure equitable development by mining firms in their host communities.

The Legal Affairs Manager of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Josef Iroko, said within the Community Development Agreements mining companies will be required to engage host communities on the development objectives of the area.

“This will be made part of mining agreements before they are approved, and with this a percentage of the income from the mining operations will be devoted to funding the development agreement of the area,” he added.

According to Mr. Iroko, this will in addition to what currently exists whereby landowners or stakeholders who are likely to be affected by mining operations are paid some compensation before mining operations start.

He explained that these efforts are intended to enhance some of the mining laws that currently exist, and forestall the challenges being encountered by some mining companies with their host communities.

“The Community Development Agreement will be used to address some of these issues,” he said.

The Legal Affairs Manager of Minerals Commission, who was speaking on the sidelines of a capacity building training for journalists and Civil Society Organisations on mining contracts disclosure, added that engagement on some reforms within the mining sector is ongoing with the appropriate authorities.

The skills-building workshop was organised by the Natural Resource Governance Institute (NRGI).

The training was in collaboration with the Minerals Commission and sought to create awareness about publicly available mining agreements; provide skills required for CSOs and journalists to understand how to navigate the Ghana Mining Repository; and use data from the portal to demand accountability from companies and government.

As part of efforts to deepen transparency, it emerged that the Minerals Commission has disclosed five development and investment agreements between Ghana and various mining companies: namely Anglogold Ashanti, Goldfields Ghana (Tarkwa), Newmont Golden Ridge, Anglogold Obuasi Mine Redevelopment and Abosso Goldfields.

The Commission also launched the Ghana Mining Repository (GMR), which contains updated information on all mineral licences issued in Ghana, the owner/company/entity and spatial maps of the licence areas and resource type; however, significant challenges remain.

For instance, there is no legislative backing for the disclosure of mining agreements – unlike in the petroleum sector. There is also little awareness among stakeholders about the existence of these agreements and licence information and how to access them.

Mining is a key component of Ghana’s national economy; the country is Africa’s largest gold producer. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the mineral’s prominent role, as gold is seen as a safe investment during uncertain times.

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