Hon. Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources.

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, says the Ministry has begun a nationwide clampdown on encroachment on quarry sites.

Speaking during a media interview in Accra on Wednesday, Mr. Jinapor said the Ministry has deployed a multi-stakeholder team, comprising security personnel and regulatory agencies, to stop illegal human settlements and other activities within quarry concessions.

The exercise formed part of a gamut of measures the Government is rolling out to protect the country’s quarry sector from imminent collapse.

The Minister said given the critical role the quarry industry plays in national development, the lack of respect for regulations relating to quarry operations would no longer be countenanced.

He raised concerns about the country’s risk of importing stones and other quarry products in the next 10 years if nothing is done to halt encroachment on quarry concessions.

The Minerals and Mining Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2177) states that a manager of a quarry site shall ensure that for any explosion, there is 500 metres minimum safety distance between a blast and a person near the blast site.”

Mr. Jinapor said the Ministry is working on a proposal for quarries to be exempted from the list of minerals that needed ratification for their licenses to be valid.

He said an initiative had been rolled out by the Government through the Minerals Income Investment Fund to support quarry operations and entrepreneurs in the sector to boost their operations.

As part of measures to rake in the requisite revenues from the quarries, an inter-agency taskforce has been formed to perform that special role, the Minister said.