No person shall prospect for any mineral in Ghana unless he has been granted a prospecting licence by the Minister responsible for mines. To acquire an area for prospecting purposes, an applicant would have to follow the procedures outlined below.
Before applying for the mineral right the applicant must identify the area and the mineral to apply for. The applicant must also identify which right he intends to apply for – Reconnaissance Licence (12 months), Prospecting Licence (up to 3 years), Mining Lease (up to 30 years), Restricted Reconnaissance or Prospecting Licence for industrial minerals (12 months and up to 3 years respectively) or Restricted Mining Lease (up to 15 years).
As a first step a cartographic search must be conducted at the Cartography Section of the Commission to determine whether the area of interest is under any mineral right or is free.
If the land area is free then the following documents must be submitted to the Minerals Commission with respect to Reconnaissance and Prospecting Licences:
• 20 copies of completed application forms. The forms are obtainable from the Minerals Commission
• 20 copies of a map (Site Plan) of the area being applied for with reference to topographic map of Ghana (preferably in a scale of 1:50,000) and signed by a Licensed Surveyor
• An official search report from the Minerals Commission which indicates whether the area is free or encumbered
• A work programme for the proposed mineral operations indicating activities and expenditure in both local and foreign currencies for the initial period of the licence in relation to the various stages of the programme. The work programme must be prepared and certified by a competent Geologist or Mining Engineer. The Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) requires applicants to give particulars of financial and technical resources available to them;
• Annual report of the company and/or its parent company(ies) if any;
• Certificate of Incorporation of the company in Ghana;
• Certificate to Commence Business, Copy of particulars of the company under Section 27(1) of the Companies Code, which spells out the objective and directors of the company;
• If it is U.S. company, the Security and Exchanges Commission 10K report must be submitted
• Particulars including annual report of the company (ies) which will carry out the mineral operations, if the work will not be done by the applicant. In the case of a consultant, the curriculum vitae must be provided;
• Power of Attorney if the company is registered outside the country or for any other reasons the applicant employs an agent to act on his behalf.
On the receipt of the above documents, the Commission commences to process the application. Six (6) copies each of the application form and the site plan of the area being applied for are sent to the offices of the Metropolitan, Municipal or District Assembly (MMDA) where the area is located. The MMDA Chief Executive causes a publication of the application to be made at the offices of the MMDA, the Local/District Information Centre, Local Post Office, Local/District Magistrate Court and information copies to the Local Chiefs, Landowners and Traditional Rulers for a 21-day statutory period. This is to afford the Chiefs, Landowners and the general public in the area the opportunity to examine the application and to react appropriately. The MMDA Chief Executive is required to return a Certificate of Service of the Notice duly endorsed -ONLY by him to the Commission. Copies of the application are sent to the Regional Minister (Regional Co-ordinating Council), Regional Lands Officer.
The information provided by the applicant together with the Certificate of Service of Notice from the MMDA’s and the comments from the other organizations to whom copies of the application were sent are considered by a Technical Committee on Mineral Titles. The Technical Committee comprises representatives from the Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Geological Survey Department and the Lands Commission. The Committee submits its report to the Governing Board of the Commission (the Board). The Board, after consideration of the report, submits its recommendations to the Minister responsible for mines for approval or otherwise. If the Minister approves, then he signs on behalf of Government an Agreement between the Applicant and the Government of Ghana. On receipt of the signed Agreement, the applicant is required to send the Agreement to the High Court to sign the oath and certificate of proof. Applicant then registers and stamps the Agreement at the Land Registration Division and the Land Valuation Division of the Lands Commission respectively. The applicant sends a copy of the registered and stamped Agreement and a letter from the Minerals Commission Secretariat and an Environmental Permit obtained from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the Chief Inspector of Mines for a Mining Operating Permit, before any work on the concession can commence.