Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister of Lands and Forestry, says government is not against small scale mining, but is rather against illegal mining that continues to destroy the environment.
“The New Patriotic Party government is not anti-mining. We are a government that believes in partnership with private sector, but we are against those who are doing illicit mining.
“What we are against is those small-scale mining activities which are not conforming to the regulation framework that allows small scale mining to be done in an environmentally sustainable manner,” Mr Amewu explained.
“Again, we are warning those who are mining in the river bodies, those who are killing down the river bed, that is what cannot be allowed, Mr Amewu said this when he launched the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) at Kwahu-Mpreaso in the Eastern Region.
The MMIP is a five-year holistic programme being rolled out by the Ministry of Lands and Forestry and the Minerals Commission to tackle illegal mining.
As part of the Kwahuman Easter celebrations currently underway in Kwahu, the Ministry of Mines decided to launch the MMIP in the Region, which is also well noted for illegal mining activities.
The launch was heralded with a float through the municipalities of Mpraeso and Obome, with floaters holding placards some of which read: “Life is more Precious than Gold”, “Help End Galamsey now”, “Stop Illegal Mining”, “Think Right, Mine Right, Live Right”, “Value Life not Gold”, “Engage in Sustainable Mining”, “Preserve our Water Bodies”, and “Preserve our Rich Forests”.
In an address, Mr Amewu said : “As a country, as a government, as Ghanaians, we cannot continue allowing people to destroy our river bodies, destroy our forests, destroy our lands and every Ghanaian who thinks the water we drink is more beneficial than the gold we mine, should be part of this fight”.
He said government recognised that small scale mining was a preserved for Ghanaians and that it was ready to ensure that the people mine in a more sustainable manner.
He asked illegal miners, especially in the night, cutting down trees, and destroying the environment to put a stop to it otherwise “we shall go after them”.
The Minister, who was accompanied by his two Deputies, also urged all small-scale miners to ensure that they acquired licenses.
He said there were extensive plans to reclaim destroyed and abandoned lands to restore the polluted water bodies and announced that already, the Minerals Commission had awarded on contract, five acreages of land with gold would be allocated for small-scale mining.
He said miners would no longer be allowed to mine everywhere, but within areas that had been demarcated by the Commission.
Mr Tony Aubynn, CEO of Minerals Commission said the campaign against illegal mining was about the future generation and urged all indigenes who want to engage in small scale mining to acquire the right licenses.