Extractive companies urged to go by rules to avoid sanctions

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has urged players in the extractive industry to work according to the “rules of engagement” to avoid punitive sanctions which include closure.

“We are doing our part, but, if there are isolated issues, let’s discuss them, we will investigate and ensure punitive measures are taken to ensure the environment is protected,” Principal Programme Officer, EPA, Western Region, Kwadwo Opoku -Mensah, stated during a training here last Friday.

• The participants
• The participants

He gave the advice when he spoke on environment impact assessment and avenues for community participation at a training on extractive laws and human rights organised by Friends of Nation (FON).

Mr Mensah said EPA remained focused to ensure that players in the extractive sector went by the standards to safeguard the community and the environment.

“If we find that, instead of a filling station, you are also putting up a hotel at the site, we will sanction you the project proponent .We shut down Adamus Resources for not doing the right things,” he stated.

He explained that knowledge on baselines, scoping, public hearings, environmental permitting, were key guiding principles for effective community participation within the governance space.

Mr Mensah entreated players in the extractives to conduct an EIA before the commencement of a project after submitting relevant documents such as the environment management plan.

Sectors considered for EIA, he said, included manufacturing, energy, tourism agriculture and forestry, aquaculture, general construction, infrastructure, health, mining and oil and gas.

Mr Opoku-Mensah said “EIA is a tool to balance the diverging interest, preserve, protect the environment, grow the economy and it’s about sound decision making and sustainable development activities.

“The concept of EIA calls for the following questions; that how can we through development avoid or minimise or prevent the changes and associated impacts?  How can we deal with changes and impacts?” he stated.

 “If you modify the scope of a project, you need to get a permit, if you are not doing the right things, we‘ll revoke your permit or close your operations which may also include imprisonment,” he said.

He continued “The EIA process has significantly influenced the design and implementation of major projects in Ghana. It continues to be an integral part of decision-making participation among regulatory agencies, financial institutions donors, and financing requirements.”

Programme Coordinator, FON, Solomon Kusi, spoke about sustainable mining as one which met the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to also meet their own needs.

Mining, he explained, was a temporary activity and that “the goal of responsible companies is to limit the environmental impact of operators.”

“This is achieved by integrating practices such as reducing  water and energy consumption, minimising land disturbances and waste production, preventing soil, water, and air pollution at  mines site and conducting progressive mine closure and reclamation activities,”  MrKusi stated.


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