The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has emphasised the need for all and sundry to work together with the government for host communities to reduce the appetite for illegal mining.
“We must work together with host communities to safeguard our environment and provide opportunities for host communities to reduce the appetite for venturing into dangerous activities like illegal mining,” he stated.
The Minister was speaking at the opening ceremony of the three-day World Gold Council workshop in Accra yesterday.
According to Abu Jinapor, the government believes that small-scale mining can and must be done sustainably and responsibly to contribute meaningfully to the national economy.
As such, it is for this reason that government has been implementing several policies and programs aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable small-scale mining.
The Minister further reinstated some stringent measures adopted by the government against this fight.
These include “the declaration of river bodies as red zones for mining, the ban on reconnaissance, prospecting and/or exploration in Forest Reserves, the launch of Operation Halt II, to rid river bodies and forest reserves of illegal mining activities, the introduction of speed boats and river guards to patrol and protect our river bodies.
“The ban on the manufacture, sale and/or use of the floating platform, popularly referred to as Changfan, which are used in the pollution of water bodies and the enhancement of the punishment regime for persons involved in illegal mining.”
He continued that, the government, in partnership with the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners launched the Responsible Small-Scale Miners Award Scheme to recognise and reward small-scale miners who are committed to responsible and sustainable mining practices.
Even though the fight against this menace is not on a silver platter, the minister reinstated his outfit and is so committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that we build a responsible, sustainable and environmentally-sound small scale mining industry.
He urged the large-scale industry to bring their experiences to bear and to support and promote sustainable small-scale mining practices
The World Gold Council, Mr. Jinapor said, has continued to promote market development in the gold sector through improved understanding, access and trust, and its new focus on the interface between large-scale and small-scale mining.
“The small-scale sector contributes about a third of our total gold production. Unfortunately, as a result of its impact on the environment in recent years, small-scale mining has sadly become associated with environmental degradation and water pollution.” the minister bemoaned.
The Minister added that the environmental, social and governance issues are taking center stage, globally and have become the basic standards for regulating and evaluating institutional performance based on environmental responsibility, social welfare and economic growth.
He expressed his delight to see representatives of the Ghana National Associations of Small-Scale Miners join the workshop.
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