Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission of Ghana, Mr. Martin Ayisi has indicated that the commission can boast of a very significant improvement in their operations since the assumption of the Sector Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor to office.
According to the CEO, he together with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources inherited a very troubled mining sector in March 2021 when they were appointed into office.
Enumerating some of the challenges the sector was bedeviled with prior to March 2021 at the Ministers’ Press Briefing on Tuesday dubbed “Recent development in the mining sector”, Mr. Ayisi noted that the mining sector was grappling with widespread illegal mining, degraded lands from illegal mining activities, delays in the licensing regime, lack of suitable areas for small scale mining, weak enforcement of the environmental health and safety legislation among others.
However, Mr. Ayisi disclosed that following the collaborative effort between the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry and the Minerals Commission in addition to other stakeholders, the sector has recorded a very significant improvement as far as the challenges inherited are concerned.
Touting some of these improvements, the CEO said in order to deal with the rigid licensing regime, the commission has fully digitized its operations making it possible for applicants to apply for licenses and file their returns online.
“Effective 1st November, we have abolished paper based applications. We no longer accept applications [on] hardcopies. You will have to online and do it,” Mr. Ayisi noted.
Commenting on the logistical improvement at the commission, the CEO noted that enormous successes have been chalked. According to him, equipment such as computers have been acquired to aid the digitization agenda of the commission. He further announced that the commission will in the coming weeks distribute newly procured vehicles across the country to aid their operations nationwide.
One notable achievement in the area of logistics, according to Mr. Ayisi is the purchase of about 10 blast monitors used in their testing operations. The CEO says the purchase of these blast monitors is unprecedented in the history of the commission. He added that these monitors will also generate revenue for the commission hence improving their Internally Generated Funds (IGF)
He said, “we have also renovated our labs in Takoradi and that will give us more money. We did not have blast monitors all these years. We have procured about 10 or so and now our officers can work efficiently. Apart from that we can also make monies from it because when we come to the site to test, you will have to pay us.”
Another significant initiative mentioned by Mr. Martin Ayisi is the enhancement of local participation in the mining industry. According to the CEO, the commission, backed by the Local Content and Participation Law is working tirelessly to indigenize mining in the country.
The CEO was quick to add that the commission has recently increased the list of items preserved for Ghanaians on the Procurement List by 11 which will published very soon.
Moreover, in order to reduce mercury usage to the minimal level among small scale miners, Mr. Martin Ayisi announced that the commission has facilitated the procurement of ultra modern mercury-free machines which will be distributed to small scale miners on work and pay basis.
He therefore indicated that the commission will continue to implement initiatives which will enhance efficient and sustainable mining in the country.