The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor (MP), has assured the mining industry, particularly licensed large-scale mining companies in the country of the firm commitment and unflinching determination of government to protect their concessions by activating all the necessary security protocols.
Delivering the keynote address at the Mining for Development Forum held on Tuesday, the Lands Minister stressed the need for the mining companies through the Chamber of Mines to collaborate with the government to protect their concessions.
Speaking on the theme, "Ensuring the Security of Operations in Ghana; The Role of Stakeholders", Mr Jinapor noted that the fortunes of the large-scale mining firms had direct bearing on the government's economic projection, hence the need for an effective coordination to grow the sector and maximise its gains and benefits to the country.
While indicating his worry with reports of illegal invasion of large-scale mining companies, the minister outlined two important pillars on which he believed, if implemented to the letter would cure the menace of encroachment on large-scale mining concessions.
He maintained that these two factors were equally important and must work in tandem to attain the objective of guaranteeing the absolute safety and protection of the concessions of large-scale mining concessions.
"There are two ways of protecting mining companies in the country. Across the world, these issues of illegalities, contentions between the locals and the investors, conglomerates or companies," he stated.
"There are two fundamental pillars on which I believe we can chart our path. One in my view is brute enforcement. What you do with brute enforcement is that when such issues happen, you move in immediately to uproot them, you sack them, arrest, prosecute and convict them," he added.
Another aspect of securing large scale concessions, the minister said, "is putting in place sustainable measures to carry the community with you. It is absolutely important. Any group which suggests that just by deploying law enforcement agencies will resolve issues of encroachment of large scale enforcement will not work. The enforcement is absolutely important and the principle of carrying the community along is also important".
Mr Jinapor also commended the Ghana Chamber of Mines for the programme and urged them to work hand-in-hand with the government to carry out short-term sustainable measures to develop their communities.
The Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Miners, Sulemana Koney, stated that the forum would afford the various stakeholders the opportunity to deliberate on the various means of ensuring the protection of concessions and contributing to the community and country development.
He commended the minister for his consistent efforts in seeking to address the teething challenges of the large-scale mining firms.
The forum also had in attendance the Deputy Minister responsible for Mining, Mr George Mireku Duker; the Western Regional Minister, Mr Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah; President of the Central House of Chiefs, Odeefuo Amoakwa Buadu, players and captains of the mining industry, some security personnel among others