The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, says government is committed to implementing appropriate regulatory, legal, fiscal and environmental policies to achieve the President’s vision to build a responsible, viable and environmentally-sound mining industry anchored on integrity, transparency and good governance.
The Minister said this yesterday while speaking at the 3rd International Conference on Irrigation and Agriculture Development (IRAD, 2022) held at the University of Development Studies, Tamale.
According to him, the move will bring optimal benefit to the people of Ghana, who are the true owners of these minerals.
Mr Jinapor commended the university’s attempt to find solutions to the challenges associated with effective management of the country’s water resources and environmental sustainability, in the face of increasing natural resources exploitation.
In his opinion, the conference comes at a time when Government has accelerated the fight against illegal mining and mobilising civil society to support an aggressive afforestation programme to stem the tide of degradation as global partner.
Impact of mining
The Minister noted that the impact of mining on water resources and environment is not only an issue of illegalities, but a natural occurrence from exploitation of minerals. He pointed out that if no action was taken on indiscriminate mining practices and lack of clear and credible programmes at reclamation, the consequences would be dire.
“We cannot industrialise if we do not invest in the exploitation and utilisation of our bauxite and other mineral resources,” he said.
Mr Jinapor also noted that people in local communities, particularly women, who depend heavily on the natural environment for their sustenance, always bear the brunt of human activities that impact on the environment.
He, therefore, admonished the mining companies, mostly the large scale entities, to realise their duty towards the local community, and ensure that their operations bring optimal benefit to the communities.
He hoped that mining companies would, at all times, observe their duty to mine responsibly, both environmentally and socially, to minimise the negative impact of their operations on the environment.
He also argued that to be able to achieve the African Mining Vision, which advocates “transparent, equitable and optimal exploitation of mineral resources to underpin broad-based sustainable growth and social economic development”, there is the urgent need for stakeholders to adopt policies and regulatory framework anchored on the vision.
He disclosed that the Ministry, in collaboration with the Office of the Attorney General, is working to amend the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) to expressly prohibit the manufacture, sale, supply and use of the floating device, known as “changfans.”
Touching on the recent tragic incident at Apeate, he reiterated government’s commitment to build the community into a modern, green and sustainable one and make it the model of mining communities and rural development in the country.