The Minerals commission in the Ashanti Region has in the past three years recorded only one relicensing application for sand winning even though there are countless sand winning and stone quarry sites across the region.
The Senior Inspector of Mines in the regional directorate of the commission Mr Francis Baiden Amissah disclosed this speaking to Ultimate News on the sidelines of a sensitization programme held for players in the sand winning and stone quarrying industry.
He indicated that the state of affairs is worrisome considering that most of the operators who obtained licenses in some time past must have depleted their lands and moved to other sites without any licenses.
“Before you start this sand winning, you need to conduct pre-licensing and we will recommend to Accra whether you are supposed to be given the licensing or not, but ever since I came here some three years ago, the pre-licensing for sand winning has been done only once and that is where I became alarmed and called for this meeting,” Mr Baiden Amisah explained.
When asked how this trend had remained same under his watch for the past three years, Mr Baiden Amissah who could not give ready figures admitted that he had personally visited “two or three places and I have called them to bring their permits and the last time I went there, they were no longer there.”
He however told Ultimate News’ Ivan Heathcote – Fumador that a taskforce has been deployed to begin inspecting all sand winning and stone quarry sites to ensure that the operators of these sites adhere to the laid down legislative requirements.
Meanwhile, the Sand Winning and Stone Quarry Association in the Ashanti region contends the cumbersome bureaucratic processes required to obtain licenses to commence operations is a disincentive to their members who want to do the right thing.
Chairman of the Association Mr Peter K. Donkor outlined that, “you will have to make the side plans, send it to the minerals commission; it will be sent back to the district, to the EPA; stool lands and the rest to make their inspections. They will have to make publications for 21 days.”
“If none of these three agencies find nothing wrong with the land, they give you a letter to send to the minerals commission in Accra and there you have to start yet another processing and how many of us will get the time to do all these things?” a furious Donkor asked.
Mr P.K Donkor further made a demand for government to decentralise the licensing and monitoring regime to streamline the processes required to obtain licenses to sanitize the sand winning and stone quarrying industry in the region.
By: Ghana/Ultimatefmonline.com/106.9FM/Ivan Heathcote-Fumador