Government is expected to distribute one million palm seedlings to illegal miners turned farmers as part of moves to end illegal mining and reclaim sites degraded by activities of illegal miners.
Government in April this year imposed a six-month ban on all forms of small-scale mining which was subsequently extended by three more months, in a bid to salvage the country's water bodies that were being laced with mercury and also heavily polluted by the activities of illegal miners who dig for gold at the bed of water bodies.
The government in the course of the ‘galamsey’ fight has promised to provide an alternative livelihood for the miners who have been agitating against the ban.
That promise by the government appears to be taking shape with the plantation project.
Funded by the Mineral Development Fund, the palm plantation project is expected to create alternative jobs for illegal miners who have complied with government directive and lost their livelihoods.
In an interview with JoyNews, Deputy Minister at the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry in charge of mines, Barbara Oteng Gyasi said, the Palm plantation project which forms part of the Multi-sectoral Mining Integrated Project is expected to combat galamsey and also feed into government policy of one-district-one-factory, by opening oil mill factories to process oil for export.
Coordinator of Richie plantation, told newsmen, the project is already pulling illegal miners from the pits to the farm, citing some youth working at his nursery as testimonies.
The team also toured some Mineral Development Fund project sites at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) and in the Prestea Huni Valley District all in the Western Region.