Small-scale miners to help reclaim degraded sites

Small-scale miners in the Manso Nkwanta area in the Amansie West District in the Ashanti Region have initiated a local arrangement with some identified illegal miners to create a fund to purchase equipment to help reclaim the degraded sites.

The equipment is expected to be in the custody of the assembly and would be released when needed.

The District Chief Executive, Alex Kwame Bonsu, told a seven-member Parliamentary Committee on Environment, Science and Technology on tour of some of the sites across the country that although the inclusion of illegal miners was an affront to the laws of the country, it was a way of helping the miners to regularise their activities.

He said attempts at containing the illegal miners had been difficult because they always had ways of outwitting the task force. 

He said the new move was a tacit way of dealing with the problem head-on.

The parliamentary committee, headed by Edem Asimah, Member of Parliament for South Dayi Constituency, said although the initiative was laudable, if it was not handled properly, it could lead to legitimising illegal mining in the country.

Mr Asimah conceded though that the team was not there to find fault but to “find equilibrium with regard to the various components to the issue.”

The team said although the issue provided a challenge, it would be captured in its final report to be submitted to the House on June 5, to coincide with this year’s World Environment Day.

The team, which included ranking member Addai Nimo, MP for Mampong, was looking at the sustainability and the judicious use of the mining sites across the country and how to reclaim degraded sites.

It visited three key sites at Manso Nkwanta where a Chinese operator of an excavator on one of the illegal sites was arrested and he is being processed for court.

During the visit, it came to light that some of the large-scale miners had sublet their sites to a number of Chinese individuals who had in turn engaged some Ghanaians to operate illegally.

The assembly, in collaboration with the committee, is to trace such large-scale miners, investigate the matter and, if possible, revoke their licences. 

Also, a task force has been put in place to document all such sites to assist the work of the committee, which had earlier toured the Dunkwa area.

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