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General News of Monday, 24 April 2017

Source: citifmonline.com

Alternative livelihood programme for illegal miners to cost $10m

Government’s five-year Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP), an alternative livelihood programme for illegal miners, is expected to cost $10 million.

The programme is also underway, according to Mr. John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who said the programme is looking at a “margin of not less than $10 million when it gets to its peak.”

Speaking to Citi News’ Kojo Agyeman during his two-day tour of some illegal mining sites in the Western Region, Mr. Amewu, disclosed that “the process is ongoing.

We have already started, we have already awarded contracts, we are talking to the small scale mining association, I am engaging them to start regrouping some of these guys, so it is an ongoing process.”

The programme will pivot around the application of technology and enforcement of the law as well as supervision.

Mr. Amewu stressed that the government was not against small-scale mining, but wants illegal miners to work in already explored and demarcated mining sites.

“What the project is going to do is to get these same factory hands who were previously engaged in this activity to together to come and work in an area that has been already explored.

We are going to put in place a central processing plant for them where they will mine, and the ore from the mining will be passed through the processing plant and it will be for a fee,” the minister explained.

Contracts have also been given to some firms to start these mining exploration activities as part of the MMIP.

According to Mr. Amewu, “some mining companies are willingly relinquishing portions of their concessions to government. These concessions will be made available for small-scale mining. A typical example is Anglogold Ashanti which has allocated almost 60 percent of their concession to government.”

Illegal miners urged to seize opportunity
The Minister has already urged illegal miners to take advantage of the numerous opportunities expected to be offered by the government under the MMIP.

He said the MMIP will embody a livelihood empowerment project for the miners, revision of mining laws and law enforcement.

Through the MMIP, the Ministry will also engage the illegal miners and the youth in tree planting activities to reclaim the lands that had been destroyed through mining.