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Regional News of Saturday, 11 April 2015

Source: GNA

Minister expresses worry over rate of illegal mining

Nii Osah Mills, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has expressed worry about the spate of illegal mining activities, especially by the Chinese community in the Gwira Kutukrom in the Western Region.

According to the Minister, the situation is increasingly destroying land, water, and arable lands, which has negatively impacted on the lifestyle of the communities, and urged the operators to desist from the activities to avoid arrest and prosecution.

Nii Mills said this on Friday when Awulae Angama Tu-Agyan II, Paramount Chief of Gwira, paid a visit to the Minister in Accra to thank him for the field trip to the Gwira community and expressed concern about the increasing rate of illegal mining in the area.

He said if the activity of illegal mining is not well regulated in communities, the consequences could be disastrous and urged operators to follow due process to acquire license to operate.

Nii Mills said government has over the years implemented a number of measures to encourage small-scale miners to operate in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.

He noted that one of the main objectives of the laws governing gold mining is the regulation of the industry in such a way that the miners, particularly, small-scale miners could operate in an efficient environmentally friendly manner.

The Minister said most of these workers working on the sites come from various parts of the country and it is difficult to trace the authorities in charge.

He said the ministry has educated the youth engaged in illegal mining activities about government programmes in snail farming, grass cutter rearing as a way of creating livelihood for them.

Nii Mills said mining could also affect the national agricultural programmes and the government’s efforts to revamp the sector.

Awulae Tu-Gyan, said most of the mining concessions are granted without the involvement and consultation of traditional authorities.

He called on government to be proactive in addressing the issue of illegal mining in the community.

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