Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, has made a passionate appeal to chiefs, landowners, farmers, opinion leaders and all stakeholders to desist from illegally apportioning lands for illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey.”
She also called on them to work with the government to grant mining licences to ensure that the required benefits are derived from the sector.
The deputy minister made the inaugural address to inaugurate the District Illegal Mining Committee for the Western Region in Tarkwa.
According to her, the New Patriotic Party (NPP) in its manifesto for the 2016 election promised to make reforms in managing the mining sector by ensuring that mining activities are done in an environmentally-sustained manner, ensuring that land restoration is undertaken after mining operations have ended, and fully decentralising the Minerals Commission by establishing additional district offices of the Commission where appropriate.
Madam Oteng-Gyasi opined that artisanal and small-scale mining contribute significantly to the economy of Ghana in that in 2016 alone, total gold produced by small-scale miners was 165 million ounce representing 39% of the total gold produced in the country.
She added that artisanal and small-scale mining also generates substantial employment to the youth both direct and indirect, however, it can also create negative social and environmental impacts.
She further added that the small-scale mining sector, especially illegal operations, contribute in no small measure to negative impacts from the physical environment, river bodies, arable farmlands and the health of operators and the communities at large.
She said, “to address these challenges section 92 of the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703) provides for the establishment of Small Scale Mining Committee and for that matter the Presidential Committee on Environment and Natural Resources after a deliberation decided to establish an ad hoc committees to further the activities of putting an end to illegal mining activities under their guidance.”
Madam Oteng-Gyasi emphasised that the establishment of the District Illegal Mining Committee is one of the key strategies of its roadmap to ensure that the artisanal and small-scale mining operations are done in an environmentally controlled manner.
Source: Today Newspaper
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