Digitization of the process of approving permits by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for mining companies operating in the country is currently underway, to address the challenges associated with obtaining environmental permits.
This is as a collaboration between the Chamber of Mines and the EPA to introduce the permit application tracking system.
In an interview with Goldstreet Business, the Deputy Director for the EPA, Environmental Information Data Management (I.T) Division, Edmund Mc-Addy said at the moment, a study is underway to determine the scope of the tracking system.
Mc-Addy noted that a consultant has being hired by the Chamber to study the scope of the tracking system, adding that, this process is about 80 percent completed.
Under the provision of the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999 (L.I 1652), it should take 90 days for mining firms to receive approval of their permits. However, in spite of the timelines enshrined in this legislature, there are inordinate delays in the issuance of permits on critical mining projects.
Mc-Addy said that once the report is completed, submitted and reviewed, the two working bodies will move onto the next step of the process.
Benefit of Tracking System
The system is expected to ensure transparency, with clear timelines and accessible by all to review the status of applications without much difficulty.
The implementation of the tracking system will further improve the process of permitting and in particular, shorten the lead time between the submission of permit applications and their consideration and issue of permits by the EPA.
According to the Chamber’s annual report, this will ensure that mining companies do not only concentrate on their core productive goals but also use a system that provides predictability of the permitting process and make Ghana a competitive destination for mining investment.
By Joshua W. Amlanu