Minerals Commission, 2 others to track excavators (Back,page)

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The Minerals Commission is in talks with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to begin the registration and electronic tracking of all excavators in the country.
The initiative, according to the Chief Executive Officer of the commission, Dr Toni Aubynn, is to check illegal mining.
A specific timeline was not given for the start of the exercise but he said the system would be in place within a year.
Interacting with the media in Accra yesterday, Dr Aubynn said importers of excavators received some tax waivers because of the mining and construction industry, noting that in some instances the equipment was used for illegal activities in the mining sector.
“What we intend to do is to register them and track them, using state-of-the-art tracking systems so that we know that you are using the excavators for the intended purpose. If you are not using them for that purpose, they should be parked,” he stressed.
He said ultimately the objective was for the owners of excavators and other earth-moving equipment used for mining to take responsibility for reclamation after mining.
Moratorium 
Touching on a wide array of issues in the mining sector, Dr Aubynn said a committee that was set up after a moratorium was placed on the granting of gold exploration licence had completed its work.
Though he would not give details, Dr Aubynn said about 40 companies were indentified to have received licences for prospecting but had failed to do so between the last 10 and 15 years.
The moratorium was to, among other objectives, improve the mineral titles registration system at the commission and ensure that companies complied with the terms and conditions of the licence granted them.
Small scale mining
Ghana has over the years struggled to deal with illegal small-scale mining since it was legalised in 1986.
Water bodies have been destroyed and deep trenches left behind on farmlands.
In June 2013 alone, the Interministerial Task Force established by the government to flush out illegal miners arrested 224 foreigners made up mainly of Chinese, Russians, Indians, Nigerians, Togolese and Nigeriens.
To deal with the situation, Dr Aubynn said the Minerals Commission was considering re-categorising small-scale mining operations to take care of those using heavy equipment.

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