General News of Sunday, 12 March 2017
The Minister for Environment, Science, and Technology, Professor Frimpong-Boateng is advocating for stricter measures to address indiscriminate sand mining activities in Ghana.
According to him, the unlawful activities of sand miners is having a negative impact on the environment and believes that a robust plan is needed to stop the menace.
He told Citi News that, sand mining has to a large extent affected farming activities in many areas including the North Tongu constituency in the Volta Region. He also described the activity as being worse than illegal mining.
“Sand winning can be even worse than ‘galamsey’ because they can degrade a large short in land in short time because it goes very fast. So, if you go to areas like the north Tongu constituency you see a lot of degradation from sand winning. It has affected the farming activities when they grow the maize, pepper and so one which is very popular in the area, it does not do well,” he said.
The widespread activities of sand minners have compelled parliament to set up a five-member committee to investigate and make recommendations to fight the illegal activity but Professor Frimpong Boateng believes that a major way of tackling the situation is by issuing permits and putting in place effective regulation mechanisms to check the activities of the sand miners.
“They should be given the permit. Sand winning is like mining, they get the permit from the minerals commission… it is not the EPA,” he said.
The issuance of permit for sand winning in Ghana has long been accepted to regulate the activity, however, most people engaged in the business of sand winning do not follow the due procedure to do so.
In a separate interview, the Chairman of the National Association of Sand and Stoneworkers and Tipper Trucks Users (NasWottu), Peter Donkor called for decentralization of the process of permit issuance from Accra to all districts and also work to make the process less stressful.
In Ghana, the Mining and Minerals Act (act 703), regulates the activities of stone and sand winners. It classifies sand and stone as major minerals and therefore subjects them to the same process of obtaining permits as it is done in the case of those who mine gold, diamond, bauxite and other precious minerals.