The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is exploring means to establish a National Reclamation Fund to deal with large tracts of degraded mined lands.

Sector Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor, insists the country has no option but to reclaim degraded mined lands to make them economically viable.

“It’s work that has to be done because we cannot live in a country where a large tract of the landscape is degraded.

We have pits and water; old ladies are falling in these pits. You cannot use the place for any economic venture and so on and so forth. That cannot be allowed to stand. We should reclaim the degraded lands. We have no option.”

He believes the Fund, when set up, will go a long way to provide the needed pool of financial resources to reclaim already mined sites across the country.

“We will require a National Reclamation Fund and at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources we have are beginning to interrogate the concept or framework or mechanism within which we can have a National Reclamation Fund.”

The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources hopes to roll out a national reclamation program to reclaim degraded but mined lands.

According to the Ministry, several tracts of degraded lands, located in the southern part of the country, have not only become obsolete but death traps.

Sector Minister, Abu Jinapor, visited one of the mined-out sites being reclaimed in the Bosome Freho District of the Ashanti region.

He told journalists discussions are underway towards the establishment of the National Reclamation Fund.

According to him, the ministry is understudying options available under the current legal regime to pass new laws or amend existing ones to support the fund.

“As you can tell, there are so many mined out lands across the southern landscape of our country where the country would have to fins the resources to reclaim the lands. It costs a lot of money to reclaim these lands because the work involved is enormous. And therefore, we need to find the mechanism; we need to find an intelligent approach of setting up a National Reclamation Fund which will give us a pool of funds to be able to reclaim the already mined out sites across the country,” he said.

“Of course we have to go to cabinet; of course we have to look at the law  and look at the legal regime as it exists and find a clever way of  either amending the law or pass a new law.” Mr. Jinapor added.

Even before the fund is established, Mr. Jinapor is faulting the existing law that allows small-scale mining firms to reclaim mined lands 30-days after their activities.

Regulation 480 of the Minerals And Mining Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2182) stipulates holders of a small-scale mining license shall rehabilitate and re-vegetate land which is no longer used for mining within one month after termination of activities on the land.

The law also makes provision for small-scale miners to within one month after the abandonment of the mine, backfill disused trenches, excavations and pits in a manner that prevents the accumulation of stagnant water.

Mr. Jinapor wants small-scale miners to be compelled to reclaim and revegetate mined lands concurrently.

“I think that is a wrong arrangement because when that happens, you get yourself into this situation. They excavate the land and they move on to excavate and they move on to excavate and then leave behind these degraded mined sites.  We are going to insist on concurrent reclamation and revegetation.”

Meanwhile, consultants for the Bosome Freho Reclamation project,  hope to plant more eco-friendly plants to revegetate the degraded lands.

At least, 398 acres of land have been reclaimed in the area.

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