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Business News of Thursday, 30 June 2022

Source: thebftonline.com

Recalcitrant illegal miners to be severely dealt with - Lands Minister

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor

Illegal small-scale miners who continue to cause wanton destruction to the environment with their operations will be pursued and ruthlessly dealt with, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has warned.

According to the minister, despite all the deterrent measures and ongoing operations to curb the menace of illegal mining, “a good number of people” are still engaged in the action, especially in river-bodies, using deceptive tactics of operating at night and resting their equipment during the day.

“There are still people who are destroying forest reserves even though they have been declared as red-zones. We will also not relent, and we will be tenacious and unyielding as they are; and therefore this must be made very clear,” he stated.

The minister, who was speaking at a ceremony at the ministry to present some 95 small-scale licences to concessionaires, observed that government is working systematically to build a completely new small-scale mining industry in the country.

In this regard, he said, leadership of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners have a critical role to play.

“For us to be able to regularise, sanitise and construct a responsible, environmentally-sound small-scale mining industry in this country, it will take the efforts and collaborations of multiple stakeholders to realize it,” he said.

He noted that in many parts of the world small-scale mining is a central key pillar for employment and wealth generation, which government wants to replicate.

However, he stated that it will not be achieved overnight but requires a series of concerted efforts – as is being done, including law enforcement, reformation and revamping the industry among others.

According to Mr. Jinapor, the small-scale mining sector has a key role to play in Ghana’s mining industry as it contributes almost 40 percent of the country’s gold output.

“A strong small-scale mining sector means a strong mining industry in Ghana. We cannot abrogate illegal miners overnight, but with a gradual multifaceted approach we will,” he said.

The minister said government is reforming the sector on two main pillars: reformation (being all the measures put in place through the Minerals Commission, online application system, easing the methods of securing permits, enforcing the regulatory architecture of the Minerals Commission, ensuring that geological investigations are ramped up, the concept of community mining, among others); and the law enforcement measures put in place.

The minister further disclosed that the ministry will inaugurate river guards to patrol and protect river-bodies.

For his part, General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM), Godwin Armah, commended the ministry for considering and accommodating the associations’ input and proposals toward programmes and policies.

He assured of the GNASSM’s willingness to work closely with government in curbing illegalities associated with mining and its implications on the environment; thereby ensuring responsible and sustainable mining.

“To all small-scale miners, kindly note that acquiring the licence is the first step – but compliance to the legal framework is what will keep you in the mining industry. We urge all of you to mine sustainably, keeping future generations in mind as you contribute toward the socio-economic development of Ghana,” he urged.

“We will engage the various relevant stakeholders to set out the necessary structures to ensure that gold mined by small-scale miners is sold to licenced dealers for government to generate the needed revenue,” he added.

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