Mr Ben Aryee, the Advisor on Mines at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has called for a multi-faceted and an all-inclusive integrated approach to promote sustainable mining.
He said government had recognized the need to balance the exploitation of mineral resources with conserving the environment to contribute to sustainable employment and other positive economic impacts, without causing other negative social impacts.
Mr Aryee was speaking at a Corporate Social Responsibility Forum in Accra on the theme: “Promoting Sustainable Mining for Sustainable Development” organised by the Canadian High Commission in collaboration with the CSR Foundation Ghana.
He stressed that the Ministry would soon implement the Muti-lateral Mining Integrated Project in partnership with civil society organisations and development partners to tackle the illegal mining menace in the small scale sector.
The project is a five-year initiative by the Ministry aimed at integrating all affected miners who will be taken out of their mining concessions.
He said government had put in place key policies and legislative frameworks to govern the mining sector in a more sustainable manner which included the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006, Act 703 and its seven regulations, along with the environmental laws, that regulate the activities of mining companies in the country.
“For mining to contribute to sustainable development, there should be adequate governance framework to ensure fair and adequate fiscal contributions to government, integrate community participation in the entire mining value chain through local content, minimizing environmental impacts and ensure that communities affected by mining are adequately compensated and do not become worse off,” he added.
He said the country had succeeded in attracting significant mining sector investment of about 17 billion dollars since the onset of an Economic Recovery Programme in 1983, and that the favourable investment environment had continuously encouraged new companies to explore and open new mines in the country.
Mr Aryee said the 2030 agenda for sustainable development in which President Akufo Addo is a co-Chair of the Sustainable Development Goals, advocated signified government commitment to encourage partnerships among stakeholders to ensure sustainable exploitation of the natural resources to lead to rapid transformation of the economy.
Madam Heather Cameron, the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana said the theme was timely because it linked perfectly with Canada’s CSR and its shared global commitments towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
She said CSR allowed mining companies to integrate social, environmental, and economic concerns into their values and operations in a transparent and accountable manner.
“CSR is important to the SDGs agenda because when done properly, it can help alleviate poverty, protect the environment and create jobs in the communities in which mining companies operate and at the national level,” she added.
The Ambassador said mining companies in Canada were the first in the world to develop an externally-verified performance system for sustainable mining practices with the creation of the Mining Association of Canada’s ‘Towards Sustainable Mining initiative in 2004’.
She said the Government of Canada expected Canadian mining companies active abroad to respect human rights and all applicable laws, conduct their activities in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, and to bring lasting prosperity in the communities in which they operated.