What the Law says about natural resources owned by the state

Supreme Court of Law
Supreme Court of Law

Natural resources are owned by the state. Article 257(6) of the 1992 Constitution states that every mineral in its natural state in, under or upon any land in Ghana, rivers, streams, water courses throughout Ghana, the exclusive economic zone and any area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf is the property of the Republic of Ghana and shall be vested in the President on behalf of, and in trust for the people of Ghana.

This means that the owner of any land in Ghana is not the owner of any mineral in its natural state which he/she may find.

The law further provides that despite a right or title which a person may have in a land, upon or under which minerals are situated, a person shall not conduct activities on or over land in Ghana for the search, reconnaissance, prospecting, exploration or mining for a mineral unless the person has been granted a mineral right in accordance with this Act.[1]

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Thus, regardless of the fact that you own the land on which the gold in its natural state was found, a mineral right must be granted to you to deal with it in any way.

To make matters a bit more complex for individuals, qualifications for mineral rights are limited to bodies incorporated under the Companies Code 1963 (Act 179), under the Incorporated Private Partnerships Act 1962 (Act 152) or under an enactment in force.

In conclusion, the land is yours but the gold is ours (the people of Ghana).

Credit: Ghana Law Hub

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