Ghana has received approval from the United Nations (UN) for an extended continental shelf (extent of space under the ocean that a country can lay claim to), Minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Mines) Nii Osa Mills announced here on Tuesday.
According to him, the country has therefore received over 200 nautical miles (370km) more of continental shelf by that approval.
The minister disclosed this during an interaction with the media to throw more light on policies and programs of the sector.
?Ghana has received approval for the extension of its continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles. This will enhance Ghana?s sea bed natural resources for the economic development of the nation,? the minister stated.
He explained: ?There are minerals and natural resources under the sea bed and so these benefits would accrue to the country.?
After Ghana discovered oil in commercial quantities in 2007, the government declared its intension to seek an extension to the country?s continental shelf in order to extend its exclusive economic zone.
In April 2009, the Continental Shelf Delineating Committee submitted its working document to the minister for Lands and Natural Resources (Mines), and later to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) that same year.
Other countries, including Brazil, Norway, Russia, Denmark and South Africa have in the past extended their exclusive economic zones to gain access to marine resources such as oil and fish.
March 10, last year the country?s team concluded its final inputs to the United Nations’ Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) regarding a request for the extension of the continental shelf.
This followed consensus reached between Ghana, the sub-commission and the commission on a number of issues on the Foot of the Slope (FOS) and outer limits points.
The minister explained that after satisfying itself with Ghana?s submissions, CLCS then forwarded its recommendations to the United Nations for approval.
Ghana and their western neighbour, La Cote d?Ivoire are in arbitration at UNCLOS over a maritime dispute after the Francophone country had claimed that portions of Ghana?s oil discovery were actually in Ivorian territory.
La Cote d?Ivoire has asked the arbitration in Germany to place temporary embargo on Ghana?s development of the Tweneboah-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) field until the determination of the dispute first brought to the international court by Ghana. Enditem.