Hon. George Mireku Duker, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has tasked the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) to organize and stimulate the interest of their members in the fight against illegal mining.
Hon. Mireku Duker says the fight to protect the country’s waterbodies and natural resources has reached a stage where the Small-Scale Miners cannot afford to take the backseat and leave it to only government.
Speaking during an engagement meeting with the leadership of the Association , Hon. Duker cautioned the Small-Scale Miners that they risk losing their livelihoods if they do not actively support government.
He admonished them against protecting persons who engage in illegal mining and asked them to assume the full responsibility of reporting persons and organizations whose activities are destructive to the country’s natural resources and an affront to the mining regulations.
Despite disclosing that government has no plans of shutting down small-scale mining operations, Hon. Duker warned that the state will be forced into taking such drastic measures if there is no collaboration and cooperation from the small-scale miners.
The Deputy Minister also challenged the Association to take responsibility for their areas of operations and take necessary action against persons who are destroying the waterbodies.
He also advised the miners to rise up and tell their stories with respect to their commitment to the fight against illegal mining.
“I will urge you to organize yourselves and take up the mantle. Let Ghanaians hear your and say the truth as it is. Act 703 enjoins us to allow Ghanaians participate in mining and it is important that we help Ghanaians engage in responsible mining.
“You have no option now but to protect our waterbodies. No matter what, you have to protect our waterbodies. You should call general meeting and all of you must protect your respective areas. All the riverbodies in your area are your responsibility. “
Hon. Mireku Duker also debunked reports that he is an enabler of illegal mining and owns an illegal mining concession in his constituency.
Mr. Godwin Armah, the General Secretaryof (GNASSM) disclosed that plans are underway for meeting all stakeholders in the small-scale mining space where far-reaching decisions will be reached on how they will carry out their activities and protect the national interest.
He said the Association is liaising with some Civil Society Organizations to craft an effective communication plan for their fight against illegal mining. “We will engage the media and also embark on a media roadshow to educate the citizenry on the dangers of illegal mining and the urgent need to protect our river bodies”.
He stated that the Association is already working with the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies to shutdown illegal mining operations in their respective areas.
He, however demanded logistical support from the Ministry to enable them work effectively to deal with the illegal miners.