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3,877 Illegal Foreign Miners Deported From Ghana   
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Document chanced upon by Today from the corridors of Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources indicates that a total of 3,877 illegal foreign miners who had been involved in illegal mining activities including those who voluntarily submitted themselves for repatriation have been deported by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS).

Today gathered that since 2013 the Inter-Ministerial Taskforce which started the operational phase of its activities on June 1, 2013 covering the southern portion of the country to enforce its mandate have so far arrested 1,568 foreigners and 51 Ghanaians.
Today understands that forty (40) vehicles, 85 earth-moving equipment and forty-nine (49) weapons have been seized.

Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osah Mills, told journalists that the resolve of government to sanitise the small-scale mining sector was unwavering stressing that Inter-Ministerial Task Force was poised to pursue all violators of “our mining laws.”

According to the sector minister, it was important to note that the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Task Force complements activities of the ministry of lands and natural resources in its determination to bring sanity into natural resource exploitation in this country.

He noted that that ministry has also reconstituted membership of the 5 existing regional task forces to complement efforts by the National Security to deal with the illegal mining situation in the country.

He mentioned to the journalists that new members were brought on board to ensure efficiency.

These task forces, according Mr. Mills, are operational in the Eastern, Greater Accra, Ashanti, Western and Central Regions.

The ministry, he averred, was also collaborating with the ministry of interior and the Metropolitan/District Assemblies to deal with foreigners in illegal mining.

In addition to the efforts by the regional task forces, Nii Mills stated that government was currently undertaking geological exploration of nine (9) areas totalling 500sq.km in various parts of the country to identify mineralised areas for small scale miners.

He noted that one of these areas has already proved viable (i.e., Japa in the Western Region) and mineral concessions were being acquired by small scale miners.

He underscored that to mitigate the socio-economic impacts of mining on host communities, the sector ministry implemented Alternative Livelihood Programmes (ALP) in mining communities through the creation of non-mining jobs.

According to him, a total of twenty three thousand (23,000) acres of land have been planted with oil palm seedlings in the Prestea-Huni Valley District giving employment to twenty three thousand (23,000) people.

Additionally, he asserted that the ministry will continue to support ALP beneficiaries to ensure good yield of the oil palm.

Based on the success of the Prestea Pilot Project, he disclosed that another 23,000 acres of oil palm plantation was being established in the Dunkwa-Ayanfuri area of the Central Region.

The objective of this project, Mr. Mills pointed out, was aimed at generating employment, stem the tide of rural urban migration, reduce poverty and as well as reduce the menace of illegal mining in mining communities.

He revealed that so far about 6,800 acres of oil palm has been established under the Dunkwa-Ayanfuri project, which has also employed about 7,000 people directly.

Diversification of the mineral production base
In pursuance of government’s priority of diversifying mineral production, base metals (lead, copper and zinc) occurrences in the Buem Formation of the Nkwanta areas of the Volta Region will be investigated.

Subsequently, he posited that government purchased a multi-purpose drilling rig to assist the Geological Survey Department to further investigate and prove the potential of these newly discovered minerals.

Additionally, he said the drilling rig will facilitate the firming up of the stratigraphy of the Voltaian Basin and also assist to strengthen the Department’s capacity to carry out other geological studies for effective land use planning.

He indicated that the active prospecting was also underway on the Shieni and Oppon Mansi iron ore deposits to boost the establishment of an integrated iron and steel industry in Ghana.

He stated that to improve upon the mining sector revenue collection, management, and transparency, fiscal mine models have been developed both on macro and micro levels.

He said a Multi-Agency Revenue Task Force has been established to enhance cooperation and collaboration among revenue agencies and Minerals Commission and to apply mine fiscal models to operating mines.

So far, seven (7) mines have already been audited, he disclosed.

These mining companies, he mentioned include Newmont Ghana Gold Limited, Goldfields (Tarkwa and Wassa), Chirano, Ghana Manganese Company, stating that recommendations from the auditing so far has informed changes in the fiscal regime for mining.
Source: Today Newspaper

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