The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Kwame Acheampong, has asked licensed small and medium scale miners in the region to work within the dictates of the law. The Minister says it is the act of responsible mining that will distinguish their activities from those of illegal miners.
According to the Minister, government is not against mining, per se, but against illegal and irresponsible mining. He noted that the government would therefore not even countenance activities of licensed miners who embark on irresponsible mining activities which degrade the land and divert the natural courses of water bodies.
Speaking during a meeting with small and medium scale mining companies on Wednesday, the Minister underscored the importance of embarking on responsible mining. The Minister, who is embarking on series of meetings with mining groups in the region, began his tour on Wednesday from Osino, in the Fanteakwa South District, and continued to Kyebi, in the Abuakwa South Municipality. The meeting is to help the miners appreciate and understand government’s position on mining in the country.
“We are not against mining, and we won’t stop anyone from mining. But, we need all of us to observe responsible mining. ‘Operation Halt’ is not stopped. They will be coming around randomly to ensure that the system is sanitized.
“So, practice good mining, and you won’t be found wanting if they appear on your concessions. Once we are done with this education, no one will be spared if you’re caught mining the bad way,” he said.
Mr Acheampong indicated that the government wants the best for the mining sector, and that is why they are educating and explaining the need to practice good mining activities as well as informing the miners of government’s next line of action.
The Minister cautioned that the ‘Operation Halt’ would continue to do random checks, and licenses of legal companies who engage in irresponsible mining will be revoked when identified.
Osinohene Osabarima Otu Darko, who was at the meeting, said the government needs to involve the chiefs and elders at the early stages of acquiring mining concessions, and not when all the processes are finalized. He said the current licensing regime belittles opinions of chiefs, something which he says is not a good thing.
The chief noted with worry the rate at which the government’s community mining programme is also turning to another galamsey menace.
He called on the government to engage technical people in the education and training of miners, especially those who are involved in small scale mining.
The Osinohene also asked the government to provide police posts, and tighten security in mining communities. This is because, according to him, mining activities are often associated with crimes such as stealing, drug abuse, among others, due to influx of foreigners.