Frimpong-Boateng’s Community Mining Sites Are Illegal
– Minerals Commission
By Gifty Arthur
The chief executive officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission has revealed that the former chairman of the defunct Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) abused his powers in launching community mining sites in parts of the country, a development that has become an albatross on the commission.
Martin Kweku Ayisi stated that, the former Minister for Environment, Science, Technology, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, did not have authorization from the appropriate quarters before embarking on that exercise.
This, he mentioned, has rendered most of the community mining sites, commissioned by the IMCIM at the time, not having the requisite licences. As a result, he said the commission is now having a daunting task to regularize these concessions.
The CEO, who disclosed this on Accra-based 3FM’s Sunrise Morning Show on Monday, June 19, said the right thing for the then environment minister and chairman of IMCIM was to have sought authorization from the commission, to make these sites legal for mining.
The Minerals Commission boss disclosed that the decision not to seek authorization has made his work very difficult, after the minister left government.
“They were going round launching community mining sites, a legacy I am struggling to deal with right now,” Mr.Ayisi said.
He said contrary to what was done by the former minister, the commission does not declare a site suitable for mining purpose and give gold katcha, pieces of equipment designed to help artisanal and small-scale miners to extract gold from the ore without the use of mercury, unless it has inspected such sites to satisfy itself.
“There is no way we will recognize a place as community mining lawfully permitted doing responsible mining where we will give gold katcha, unless the place has been duly inspected by the Minerals Commission, found the place suitable and then we will do all the arrangement and get the minister to launch and then we issue licenses,” he explained.
Mr.Ayisi said the launch was done on a concession belonging to the large-scale mining firm, Gold Star.
“For example, this whole community mining programme, which was officially launched by the President, we were informed of it a midnight before. It was launched on the concession of a large-scale mining firm, Golden Star,” the CEO said.
He stressed that every mineral operation activity in Ghana must be grounded in law, with some approval and authorization, but Prof. Frimpong-Boateng didnot do that, hence the commission now has to embark on the daunting task of regularizing almost all the community mining Sites that were instituted by the IMCIM.
“All the community mining that were launched by him never had any licence or authorization. That’s what the Minerals Commission is saying,” the CEO reiterated.
He also mentioned that some illegal miners enter the forest, mount signposts with the logo of the Minerals Commission with the inscription of “Community Mining” to deceive people
The programme, which was launched by President Akufo-Addo on Wednesday, July 2, 2019, at Wassa Akropong, in the Western Region, did not involve the commission until midnight of its launch.
It is government alternative to illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey. It is aimed at formalizing mining in selected communities across the country.
With at least one community mine expected to be set up in each of the mining districts in the country, the programme will provide employment for more than 4,500 miners that were trained by government at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Tarkwa in the Western Region.
The CEO’s comment comes barely two weeks after news of the former minister’s arrest by the Special Prosecutor Office (OSP) topped conversations in the media.
This was after the experienced heart surgeon was invited by Mr.Kissi Agyebeng, the special prosecutor, for investigation concerning the work of the IMCIM on May 16, 2023. He ison a GHc2million bail, as investigation continues.