Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu (in T-Shirt) touring the site

The Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu, has reiterated the government’s commitment to promoting responsible and safe mining activities in the country.

According to him, this is being done by ensuring that all mining companies conform to the dictates of the law.

He said there are numerous laws and regulations governing the minerals sector and companies engaged in mining activities have to strictly adhere to them to promote public safety and environmental protection.

The Regional Minister gave the assurance when he led the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) to Gbani in the Talensi District to inspect the activities of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, a Chinese mining company that provides support services to Yenyeye and Pubortaaba, two local small scale mining groups.

The visit was necessitated by the recent steps taken by the government to ensure that all illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’ and other activities that were detrimental to the environment, cease.

The visit was also to enable the REGSEC to be abreast with the activities of the mining companies in the area and ensure that mining laws and regulations are being adhered to.

The Regional Minister, who is also the Chairman of the REGSEC, said irresponsible mining is destroying the environment including water bodies and forest reserves and reiterated the government’s commitment to fighting destructive mining.

“The mining activities destroy our environment and there are rules and regulations governing the sector that you need to follow because all mineral deposits are under the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.“We cannot allow you to operate as if there is no tomorrow, we must do all we can to ensure that mining activities are being done to conform with the laws of the country and I can assure you that I will insist that all mining companies in this region obey the mining laws,” he said.

Apart from paying the right taxes to the government, Mr Yakubu said all mining companies must incorporate local content into their operations to ensure that the indigenous people benefitted from their activities to promote sustainable growth.

He commended Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited and its small-scale mining partners for engaging in underground mining which had ensured limited effect on the environment and water bodies.

The General Manager of Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, Mr Li Jianguo, said the company and its partners were not only focused on making profit but had over the years, since its inception in 2008, worked to improve the lives of the people in the area through a Memorandum of Understanding signed between the mining companies and the community as to their Corporate Social Responsibilities.

The Public Relations Officer, Shaanxi Mining Ghana Limited, Mr Maxwell Wooma, said the company was providing technical, managerial, logistical and other support services to the two mining groups which have a combined concession of 50 acres.

Maxwell Wooma said the company had five shafts and a processing plant that produces about 2000 ores of gold per day and had a dam with well-laid pipes connected to it to ensure that all the waste materials are collected. Mr Wooma said the company had engaged 625 workers of which 540 were indigenes.