ACCRA, The Ghana Chamber of Mines has reiterated its commitment to good environmental management and to ensuring that the industry’s operations do not adversely impact the environment and the livelihoods of residents in host communities.

“The Chamber would like to assure the Honourable Minister of the commitment of our member companies to adhere to the highest standards of environmental stewardship,” said Chamber President of the Chamber Kwame Addo-Kufour at a meeting here over the weekend with the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

The meeting was to congratulate the Minister on his appointment and assure him of the Chamber’s support, to introduce the executives of the Chamber of Mines, and to share ideas on how to collaborate with the Ministry to execute initiatives which would be mutually beneficial to the country and the mining industry.

Addo-Kufuor said the mining companies over the years had worked hand in hand with the regulators, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission, to ensure that the companies operated within the confines of the law to safeguard the environment.

He said despite the positive relationship, the directives of the two main regulatory agencies did not always converge, making compliance difficult for the companies with implications for additional costs and efficient operations.

He appealed to the Minister to work with his colleague at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to address the long-standing conflicting roles of the two regulators and to assist in addressing the delays in granting permits for projects, which was a major challenge facing the mining companies.

The Minister assured the Chamber that the government would soon come up with measures to deal with the menace of illegal mining, stressing that it was high time to save the rivers from pollution resulting from the activities of illegal miners through sustained deterrent measures to avoid a water crisis in the near future.

Professor Frimpong-Boateng pledged to impress on the EPA the need to accelerate the process of granting permits to the mining companies.