A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, responsible for mining, George Mireku-Duker, has charged traditional rules, Metropolitan and Municipal District Assemblies (MMDAs) in the country, especially in the Ashanti Region, to help sanitise the small-scale mining sector for it to contribute sustainably to the socioeconomic development of the country.
Such efforts, he indicated, would protect and safeguard the country’s rich resources for future generations.
He made the call during an engagement with officers of MMDAs, chiefs and the public in the Ashanti Region to stimulate interest and exhort their minds to the all-important task of winning the galamsey fight.
The Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister said there must be a collective resolve by Ghanaians that “never again should we mine in our river bodies”.
According to him, such pledge should not be mere words of mouth, but should be demonstrated through effective collaboration with government in its fight against illegal mining.
Mr Mireku-Duker emphasised that the desire to ensure that future generations get access to safe water should be motivating factor for all stakeholders to actively participate in the fight against illegal mining.
“We must all come together and declare that ‘never again’ are we going to allow people mine in our river bodies. The good steps we are taking has caught the attention of other countries like Sudan, South Africa and Zambia who have all been here to study our small-scale mining regime,” he noted.
He indicated the onus lied on the people to safeguard the country’s natural resources since government cannot do it alone.
“What is left for us to do is to protect our waterbodies. We know it’s not an event and we may not be able to completely abolish illegal mining, but we can reduce it to the barest minimum. It won’t be an easy battle, but we can win. Government is doing its part; we must also do ours,” he urged.
On the initiatives by government to reduce galamsey activities and increase revenue in the small-scale mining sector, the Deputy Minister disclosed that government will in the coming days commission the “situational room” to monitor and coordinate activities on the ground remotely around the country.
The arrangement, he explained, will ensure that activities of miners and mining equipment be monitored and transmitted digitally to the office of the Minerals Commission.
He said it will complement the deployment of river guards to permanently patrol river bodies like the Offin, Ankobra and Pra, adding “the introduction of the Community Mining Scheme and others are means of encouraging sustainable mining activities”.
He further assured the public that government will not give up on the fight against illegal mining.
The Deputy Minister in charge of Lands and Forestry, Benito Owusu-Bio, appealed to the traditional authorities to provide their unflinching support to government to deal with the situation.
Mr Owusu-Bio said, as custodians of lands and culture, the traditional authorities have an obligation to protect the waterbodies for generations yet unborn.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei Mensah, commended the government for the fight and urged residents in the region to report illegal mining activities in their localities.