The government has extended the moratorium on small scale mining for three more months, until January next year, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu has announced.
According to him, the decision which came on the heels of a six-month ban as part of efforts to tackle illegal mining and its negative effects on the environment, was to allow government monitor developments in the sector before the implementation of the five-year Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).
Speaking to the media during a tour of some illegal mining sites at Kyebi in the East Akim Municipality, the Minister said the MMIP would ensure a more sustainable approach in the small scale mining sector.
“Just last Thursday, cabinet gave approval for the roll out of the MMIP. And you know there is an adhoc committee in place to engage in some exercises before the MMIP is rolled out. We are confident the committee will finish its work in time for the MMIP to commence in February. When the ban is lifted, then the MMIP would come into force to ensure a more sustainable approach,” he added.
Currently, Mr Amewu said, about four per cent of Ghana’s total land surface has been degraded due to illegal mining and its related activities.
To this end, the Ministry, he said, would establish a reclamation fund that would receive contributions from small scale miners and development partners to make available funding for the reclamation exercise, which was estimated to cost billions of dollars.
“When we finally allow the small scale miners to start their work, we will ask them to put in place some form of reclamation bond. We are seeking support from anyone who cares about the environment. We have had some support from the Australian High Commission, Chinese Embassy, Canadian High Commission and others. We are also looking for funding from the World Bank too so the Fund will be launched soon,” he added.
Mr Amewu said despite the huge cost of the project, government was committed to undertaking the exercise to save the environment from further deterioration.
“The estimate on reclamation was very realistic. We will need about GH¢60,000 per hectare to restore. Multiply that by the four per cent of land degraded and that will be taking billions of dollars. But we cannot sit down and do nothing so the President has directed that the reclamation must go ahead,” he stressed.
Mr Amewu said “currently there is a framework of joint action between Ghana and La Cote D’voire and the Prince of Wales in supporting this cause. We cannot raise all the money but we will look all over and get some money to start something.”
From Claude Nyarko Adams, Kyebi
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