The United Kingdom has pledged £3.9million to fight against the country’s illegal mining menace.
The funding support is part of a new three-year initiative launched to complement government’s efforts to curb illegal mining activities, also known as galamsey, and their concomitant negative impact on the environment – particularly water-bodies.
The programme, dubbed the ‘UK-Ghana Gold Mining Programme’, seeks to eliminate illegalities associated with the small-scale mining sector. Under it, the UK and Ghanaian governments will work together on increasing community resilience, promoting regulatory reforms and supporting law enforcement.
As part of the arrangements, experts and officials from the UK will work with a technical team at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to ensure the programme’s workability and effectiveness.
The UK-Ghana Gold Mining Programme is expected to be implemented in the Ashanti, Savannah and Western Regions of the country.
At a short ceremony at Kotoka International Airport to launch the programme, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, acknowledged the mutually cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and the United Kingdom.
“The relationship between Ghana and the UK has been long-standing. The Ghanaian government has taken the issue of illegal mining seriously because, apart from the impact on our economy, its impact on the environment is dire. Government has taken some very bold steps – like NALEP, Community Mining Scheme – to ensure that we have community miners who adhere to the highest level of operational measures,” he said.
The two countries, he added, have been collaborating to execute socio-economic policies and initiatives that have significant impacts and benefits for their respective citizens; and the gold mining programme is yet another avenue for collaboration.
He said the initiative will complement other interventions being implemented by government to fight illegal mining; including the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) and community mining schemes among other law enforcement measures.
The minister noted that the small-scale mining sector is strategic in the country’s economic development. Given this, he posited that the several interventions made by government are aimed at purging the sector of its excesses and promoting a sustainable and eco-friendly small-scale mining sector.
Also, Mr. Jinapor lauded the UK government for the initiative – describing it as a ‘huge impetus’ and boost to the fight against illegal mining.
He said his ministry is ready to work effectively with the UK team to ensure the programme’s success.
The UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, James Cleverly, on behalf of the UK government commended ongoing efforts to end illegal mining.
He acknowledged that it is a bold step by government to protect the people of Ghana from negative environmental impacts of illegal mining, while assuring the UK government is pleased to support the efforts by committing resources and personnel to ensure it works.