The Mining Act is up for revision to allow for better management of mineral resources, according to Minister of Natural Resources, Raphael Trotman.
He stated this during the Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) Awards Ceremony to celebrate Mining Week 2019, at Pegasus Hotel, on Monday.
The Minister said that efforts are being made to tighten the sector’s regulatory framework, and to restructure GGMC to focus more on geological and mining activities. A contract has already been signed for the project’s review and an inception report is expected, within a week, to detail the scope of the revision.
“The industry is changing, and we must change and adapt new and sustainable approaches as well.” Trotman said.
As the principal act regulating the mining sector, the Mining Act details how mining exploration, development and production are to be conducted, setting out rules for the granting of licenses.
The Green State Development Strategy: Vision 2040 has recommended that the mining laws be updated to improve capacity for enforcement and monitoring. In the act, the GGMC is the designated enforcer of the law and monitor of all the subsurface mineral rights owned by the state.
The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) report 2017 is another major document that has pointed out issues in the mining act, one of which causes the State to lose millions in rental fees.
Medium scale operators are those considered as having between 150 and 1,200 acres of land on a single mining permit. Large operators exceed the 1,200-acre threshold.
However, the EITI highlighted a trend in operators having multiple medium scale permits with total acreage exceeding the medium scale threshold. The ‘watchdog body’ said that as a result, the medium scale operators should be paying the same fees as large operators. Yet, many of them don’t.
This issue, brought to the attention of GGMC Commissioner, Newell Dennison, was noted as one that has attracted the regulatory body’s attention for years. While a legislative change is a possible solution to the issue, Dennison had told Kaieteur News that it’s not the only solution, and that the decision would have to wait on consultations with stakeholders.
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