Gov’t moves to sanitise small-scale mining sector
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu says government has commenced a multi-lateral mining integrated project to regulate the activities of illegal miners and reduce the impact of destruction to the environment in the country at least within the next five years.
The project among other objectives will seek to bring sanity in the mining industry by allowing small scale miners access to mining sites, moving equipment, among others.
Addressing the first stakeholders meeting on the multi-lateral mining integrated project, which brought together traditional authorities, officials from the Minerals Commission, representatives from the Chinese Embassy and mining sector operators, Mr. Amewu said: “Another difficulty is the inability of the small scale miners to make their activities bankable… if the illicit miners are given the conditions such as explored fields to give them reliable sites to mine, plus plant pool from which they will be able to get equipment and pay back subsequently, they will gradually move away from all the areas that they are currently working which is destroying the environment.”
Mr. Amewu, expressing confident in the new approach said, the plan will allow the government to duly sanction perpetrators of illegal mining activities.
“We will make sure that gradually we take out galamsey out from the system…within a five year period, I think we should be able to minimize the impact of galamsey in Ghana,” he said.
Illegal mining has become a security menace to the country, and it must be dealt with decisively. Foreign illegal mining operations have serious implications and also come with national security dimensions.
For instance, these foreigners carry weapons and have security dogs to terrorise locals who dare challenge them.
The proliferation of small-arms in such communities could lead to their use for other purposes, such as armed robbery and other violent acts.
They could also be used in instances such as chieftaincy disputes and reprisal attacks from the local communities, which result in killing or maiming of foreigners.
There is also the issue of extensive pollution of water sources by their operations, especially through dredging. Rivers like the Ankrobra, Bonsa, Pra, Offin and Birim are seriously polluted with toxic chemicals such as cyanide and mercury.