The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has placed a moratorium on licences for small-scale mining in an attempt to properly map out strategies to clamp down on illegal mining activities across the country.
The sector minister, John Peter Amewu, told Joy News the suspension of licences is to ensure the sustainability of the environment and also sanitise the small-scale mining sector.
Pressure has been mounting on state actors to aggressively deal with illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) following a sustained media crusade against the problems associated with it.
The activities of the small-scale miners have caused severe pollution to the country’s fresh water bodies and destroyed arable lands.
The Ghana Water Company has shut down some of its treatment plants as key water sources have been heavily polluted with heavy metals beyond acceptable levels for purification.
“I have not signed a single small-scale mining licence since I assumed office. This is an attempt to sanitise the system.
“Some of the small-scale miners who are originally mandated within the regulatory framework and with a concession to mine in a sustainable way are also not doing that,” said Mr Amewu.
Also, the Minister for Water and Sanitation, Kofi Adda, says his outfit is implementing policies to ensure there is enough good water for distribution to residents across the country in the face of heavy water pollution as a result of galamsey activities.
The famous Pra and Tano rivers are among the most polluted water bodies in the mineral-rich Western Region.
River Birim in the Eastern Region have also not been spared the pollution from galamsey.
Farming activities at many communities in the Ashanti Region, which are rich in precious minerals, have also been curtailed due to galamsey.