Adnan Adams Mohammed
The Minerals Commission is proposing mining companies to contribute one (1) percent of revenue to fund a new community development vehicle, Community Development Agreement (CDA) which replace the usual Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in mining industry, after a holistic stakeholders consultation on proposals to amend the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703).
This proposal is a new provision being proposed by the Minerals Commission (“MinCom” or “the Commission”), the regulator of the mining industry under Article 42(3) to help coordinate properly and comprehensive towards closing the development gap that existing in almost all the mining community.
The CDA is expected to harmonize and regulate all CSR and other philanthropic activities the mining companies carry out currently based on their individual wills and policies which mostly do not address the pressing needs of the communities where mining activities are taken place.
“A regulation will be drafted on how to manage the CDA and also details how the harmonizing of all the current funds the mining companies spent on community development activities”, Lawyer Martin K. Ayisi, Dep. CEO (Promotion & Development) at the Minerals Commission posited during a presentation at a workshop organized by the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI) in Accra yesterday.
These were among other major reforms the Commission is proposing in the amendment of the Act 703.
Lawyer Nasir Alfa Mohammed, Policy Advocacy Officer at the NRGI in his critique of the proposals and the existing law acclaimed the proposals as generally good.
He, however, questioned whether the “CDA provision is an adequate remedy to illegal mining. Because when you ask the Mineral Commission the rationale for introducing the CDA, they will tell you it is for the communities to benefit from mining and also for the purposes to free prior and informed consent.
|Mohammed, Policy Advocacy Officer at NRGI
“The good of this is that, if you (mining companies) enter into a form of agreement with the communities and you begin your operations you are likely to be immuned from illegal mining activities.”
Meanwhile, West Africa Manager (Anglophone) of NRGI, Nafi Chinery in her closing remarks commended the MinCom for their enthusiastic, accommodating and well prepared before and during the interaction session.
She recommended to all other government department and agencies to emulate the proactive and productive working attitude to help achieve the best results in developing the country.
The CSOs validation workshop of the Commission’s proposed amendments follow a successful technical session organized last year and the enthusiasm it has generated for reform of the mining sector generally.
The consultation session is expected to produce three outputs: a comprehensive memorandum that highlight(s) CSO’s consolidated observations and recommendations for improving the government’s mining sector legal reform proposals; a consolidated report summarizing the concerns of civil society on the proposed amendments to Act 703 and the related draft legislative instruments; and a highlight of opportunities for CSO-led stakeholder engagements that can stimulate key action points for effective civil society advocacy on the proposed mining sector legal reforms.
In October 2018, MinCom requested memoranda (comments/proposals) from key sector stakeholders for possible amendment to the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703). Act 703 and the Minerals Commission Act, 1993 (Act 450) are the principal enactments that set out the framework that governs mining operations in Ghana.
Following the submission of memoranda by NRGI and several key stakeholders to the MinCom, NRGI, as part of its work on supporting progressive agents of change to influence legal reform in the mining sector, on 20 October 2019 convened a multi-stakeholder technical session at the Golden Tulip Hotel, Accra.
The 20 October 2019 technical session was very successful with the MinCom updating the stakeholders on progress made so far and NRGI and the other stakeholders expanding on their previous proposals for amendment to Act 703.