Publishing mining contracts online in Ghana is set to engender transparency

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Mining Site

The decision by the Ghana government to publish mining contracts online has the sole motive of ensuring transparency and accountability in the sector, a top official of the Mineral Commission said late Thursday.

Speaking on the sidelines of a day’s capacity training by the Natural Resources Governance Institute (NRGI) for civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media, Josef Iroko, manager, legal for the Minerals Commission observed that the government was committed to the disclosure of mining contracts to the public.

According to him, this formed the basis for the roll-out of the Ghana Mining Repository (GMR), an online platform which contains updated information on all mineral licenses issued by the Ghana government, the owner/company/entity and spatial maps of the license areas and resource types.

“Ghana’s mining law allows for contract disclosure, hence the need to put out all contracts for the public to access. “The Minerals Commission is in the process of publishing all mining contracts on its website,” Iroko said.

He assured resource-rich communities in the country that the government has developed guidelines in which community development will now be based on negotiation between mining companies and the host communities.

“Development in mining communities going forward will not be an imposition on the host communities but by negotiation between the parties,” he added.

Section 103 of Ghana’s Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 states: “(1) The Commission shall, in accordance with regulations, maintain a register of mineral rights in which shall be promptly recorded applications, grants, variations and dealings in, assignments, transfers, suspensions and cancellations of the rights.

(2) The register shall be open to public inspection on payment of a prescribed fee and members of the public shall upon request to the commission and on payment of the prescribed fee, be given a copy of the records.”

Economist and extractive governance expert, Samuel Bekoe, urged the Ghanaian government to be guided by international best practices to ensure that contracts entered into are mutually beneficial to all parties.

Bekoe said, “In entering into mining contracts with companies, it is incumbent on the government to ensure taxes benefit both the host country and the investor community.”

Mining activities commenced in Ghana over a century ago, and among the major minerals extracted here include gold, diamonds, bauxite, manganese, and salt.

Despite the resource endowment, transparency in the extractive sector has been identified as an essential precondition to reaping benefits from resource extraction.

Although global trends indicate that contract transparency is becoming the norm, some resource-rich countries, including Ghana, are still grappling with the adoption and implementation of guidelines that will ensure the country obtains full developmental gains from the extractive sector. Enditem

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