Ghana EPA Threatens to Revoke Mining Permits

Source:

"Report shows almost all major mining firms in Ghana are operating below required environmental standards."

Ghanaian Environment Minister Sherry Ayittey has said her ministry will withdraw the permits of mining firms which fail to take steps to improve their environmental standards.

The warning follows the release of a report by the Environmental Protection Agency which revealed that virtually all the major mining and manufacturing firms are operating below the required environmental standards.

She said that while the ministry is willing to help the firms improve their environmental management, it will not hesitate to sanction recalcitrant firms.

The minister is not also ruling out prosecuting recalcitrant companies.

However, mining firms have raised concern about the audit performance ratings carried out by EPA.

According to the Ghana Chamber of Mines, the rating is not a true representation of its members' performance.

The President of the Chamber, Mr. Daniel Owiredu (who is also the Vice President of Golden Star Resources), said the ratings were prone to all manner of interpretation "which is not positive."

He maintained that "we meet all EPA environmental guidelines and from my point of view this is not portraying the right picture for the industry."

But one of the authors of the report and Director of Mining at the EPA Ransford Sakyi disagrees.

He said the companies have been part of the development of the methodology used in the ratings.

"We visited the sites, gave them formal formats of audits. We went to the various sites audited together with the mining teams," he said.

He insisted that the "system is transparent, credible and I think we can work with it."

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