Ghana is making positive strides in combating illegal mining in the country. At a News Conference to brief the media on what government had done so far in the fight against illegal mining on Thursday,
the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Kwaku Asomah- Kyeremeh, said the ministry had confiscated 300 excavators nationwide and placed a ban on the importation of excavators.
He said the regular reports of galamsey deaths visible on the media landscape were now a thing of the past as miners were made to maintain the standards in mining while the activities of the illegal ones were being clampdown.
Mr. Kyeremeh indicated that people who still engage in illegal mining were arrested and put before the law courts including deportation if the offenders were foreign nationals.
According to him, the measures introduced were meant to bring the crisis to a manageable level, while institutions mandated to manage the sector were being empowered to properly take over the management of the sector.
In addition, the ministry is also building the capacity of the small scale miners through structured programmes.
The Minister noted that a more permanent approach to solving the illegal mining menace was the use of the legal framework of the Multi Sectorial Mining Integrated Project (MMIP), which is a five-year project with a budget of US$ 200m. A project appraisal and implementation document had been developed for that purpose.
He was of the view that the government's commitment to fighting illegal mining while streamlining the management of small scale mining sub-sector, particularly, within the broad mining sector, was on course and the result would be clear once the project took off.
In response to government shielding Aisha Huang, a Chinese illegal miner, Mr. Kyeremeh explained that the government did not sacrifice her for the Sino Hydro loan as the loan was a separate issue from illegal mining issues.
Touching on the issue of deportation of foreign illegal miners, the Minister further stated that not all perpetrators were deported as some were being prosecuted at the Circuit and District courts of the various mining areas.
He debunked calls by some group to dissolve the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Mining, stating that the mining sector was large and needed more hands to handle some issues. The committee, he said, was not established in a vacuum but as a result of the environmental degradation and the destruction of the water bodies.
Source: ISD (Chantal Aidoo)