The Minister of Natural Resources John Peter Amewu says his administration is working to make mining more sustainable and profitable.
Contrary to assertions by ex-president John Mahama stating the current government is failing in the fight against illegal small-scale mining popularly known as galamsey, the Minister insists the Akufo-Addo-led government has a better roadmap to streamlining activities in the mining sector.
In a four-page rebuttal against Mahama’s comments, the Minister says the ex-president and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) party must be champions of rule of law and not encourage lawlessness by the small-scale miners. Last week, Mahama triggered controversy by accusing the government of adopting a shoot-to-kill policy in the fight against galamsey.
He told supporters of his party at the Unity Walk organised in Kumasi that the military approach in fighting galamsey is not sustainable.
Rather than arresting and shooting small-scale miners in a bid to end illegal mining, which some suggest have destroyed the country’s environment, Mahama says alternative jobs should be provided to the miners.
But his comments have not gone down well with the government spokespersons, some of whom describe the ex-president’s comments as “opportunistic.”
The comments by Mr Mahama are distasteful and could incite small-scale miners, the Minister said in a statement.
“Indeed it must be told to Former President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC that the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has a well thought out plan to resolve the massive destruction caused to our forests, land and river bodies, through illegal mining/galamsey as well as illegal logging in the eight years of the NDC regime,” he said.
The following is the full statement;
RESPONSE TO FORMER PRESIDENT JOHN DRAMANI MAHAMA’S NDC UNITY WALK AND MISLEADING STATEMENTS ON SMALL SCALE MINING
The Ministry has been compelled to set the records straight in view of the rather distasteful comments made by the immediate past President of this country, Mr. John Dramani Mahama, over illegal small scale mining or galamsey at the so called NDC unity walk in Kumasi over the last weekend.
Ladies and gentlemen, it might interest you to note that the former President’s statements at the event were nothing but inciting small scale miners to resort to lawlessness.
2.Indeed it must be told to Former President John Dramani Mahama and the NDC that the government of Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo Addo has a well thought out plan to resolve the massive destruction caused to our forests, land and river bodies, through illegal mining/galamsey as well as illegal logging in the eight years of the NDC regime.
3.The Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) which is the Ministry’s vehicle to deal effectively and holistically with issues affecting the small scale mining industry, will be launched by the President in the coming few days. The project has the following five
(5) key but broad components:
i)Revision and enforcement of the legal and regulatory regime for Artisanal Small scale Mining (ASM);
ii)Reclamation of degraded lands, dredging of silted estuaries and waterways and free lands for agribusiness;
iii)Implementation of social interventions to facilitate sustainable livelihood creation in mining communities;
iv)Adoption of technology to ensure efficient mining, processing, and environmental monitoring activities; and
v)Capacity building of small scale miners, regulatory institutions and effective project management
Even before the launch of the MMIP and the subsequent lifting of the ban on small scale mining (SSM), the Ministry has outlined a clear roadmap detailing the following:-
1)Launching of the Project Appraisal and Implementation Document (PAID) to herald the commencement of the project implementation;
2)Vetting of small scale mining licences to determine the genuine licence holders and the scope of their concessions;
3)Provision of alternative livelihoods in affected mining areas. The Ministry has nursed and is so far distributing over 1 million oil palm seedlings to farmers for plantation agriculture in some of the mining areas;
4)Signing of MOUs with “collaborators” for initial pilots to establish baselines and award of contracts for reclamation;
5)Constituting Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) National Steering Committee;
6)Lifting of Ban on Small Scale Mining; and
7)Restructuring of the Minerals Commission to decentralize and expand its scope to address SSM related issues.
After the lifting of the ban, the following activities will proceed:-
a)Set up Minerals Commission’s satellite offices (District Mining Offices) across the country for effective monitoring among other things;
b)Audit Minerals and track precious minerals/gems;
c)Construct at least two environmental courts, to be followed by 26 others in the next year and the rehabilitation of 31 other dilapidated courts located in galamsey areas;
d)Develop regulations for tracking mining equipment; and procure such equipment; and
e)Place and enforce ban on the importation, manufacturing, transportation and use of dredges for mining on river bodies (e.g. chanfan machines); among others.
4.Along the journey of developing the roadmap for resolving and reforming the challenges in our small scale mining sector, we have enjoyed the cooperation and support of very serious and responsible members of the small scale miners themselves.
This is what motivates us at the Ministry to pursue our goal of bringing true growth and prosperity to all in the small scale mining industry. We will continue to rely on their utmost support going forward.
Already, the MMIP is receiving overwhelming goodwill from both local and foreign development partners and we will continue to count on their support, as well.
5.We urge all small scale miners that our message to them remains the same. Thus, working together to sanitize the small scale mining industry such that their operations will be sustainable and more profitable.
6.We advise all parties including the former President and the NDC to channel their energies into making Ghana where the rule of law prevails and not where civilized conduct is sacrificed on the altar of populism.
AG. CHIEF DIRECTOR