The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stated that the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, has his full support to prosecute persons found to be engaging in illegal mining in the country.
Speaking at the 2022 Bar Conference of the Ghana Bar Association on Monday, 12th September, 2022, President Akufo-Addo noted that since the onset of the 4th Republic, some 29 years ago, Ghana has witnessed the longest period of stability and economic growth in our sixty-five (65) years of nationhood.
According to the President, during this period of the 4th Republic, “we have witnessed sustained growths in the size of the economy, rising levels of per capita real incomes, systematic expansion of the private sector”.
He noted also that in the period of the 4th Republic, we have “taken strong measures to try to protect our lands, water bodies and environment from the menace of environmental degradation and climate change; ensured that efforts to meet the most basic elements of social justice, i.e. education from kindergarten through to secondary school, and accessible healthcare to all our citizens, are ongoing”.
President Akufo-Addo, to this end, assured members of the Ghana Bar Association “of my full support to the Attorney-General in his determination to prosecute Aisha Huang and her collaborators, who, apparently, insist on flouting our laws against galamsey and illegal mining”.
The President continued: “I expect, if they are found guilty, that the courts will apply the full vigour of the new amended Act 995, which has increased substantially the punishment for breaches of the law”.
Alternative Livelihood Programme
President Akufo-Addo has indicated, on occasion, that his government is not against small-scale mining.
“On the contrary, the government is in full support of responsible small-scale mining activities as they provide an avenue for Ghanaians to participate in the mining industry, and contribute substantially to our gold exports,” he said, in October 2021 at the launch of the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme, a programme designed to help alleviate the hardships of those affected by government’s efforts to sanitise the mining industry.
Available data shows that the small-scale mining industry accounts for some forty percent (40%) of our gold exports, and has played a critical role in making Ghana the leading producer of gold in Africa.
Small-scale mining, the President stressed, should therefore “be encouraged, and we will do all that is necessary to promote it for our collective benefit”.
He stated, however, that: “What we cannot do, and will not allow to happen, is to permit mining activities to threaten the environment which sustains our lives and the lives and livelihoods of generations unborn. We owe a sacred duty to preserve the environment, even as we reap the benefits of our natural resources. Small-scale mining can, and must, only be done responsibly”.