Gov’t to provide jobs to illegal miners in massive land reclamation project

Ghana needs at least GH¢20billon to reclaim land surface damaged by years of illegal mining activities.

Lands and Natural Resources minister Peter Amewu found out that it cost between GH¢60,000 to 70,000 to reclaim a hectare of damaged land.

Peter Amewu revealed at least 1.5% of Ghana’s land surface of 228,000 sq km has been destroyed through irresponsible mining.

That works out as 342,000 hectares. A hectare of land is nearly as big as international rugby field.

Photo: Waikato Stadium– Hamilton, New Zealand – An international rugby field as pictured above is very close to one hectare in size.

The Ghana government will, therefore, require GH¢20.5 billion to ensure that about 342,000 rugby fields are repaired.

The minister said reclamation of the damaged land size is a lot of work which could take years to finish, the minister said.

“This is something that we can do with the availability of funds,” the minister assured.

The minister said illegal miners can expect to get jobs through a massive reclamation project he said is part of government’s Multilateral Mining Integrated Programme.

The land reclamation project is going to be a ‘huge, huge job opportunity’, the minister told journalists who were part of an entourage visiting mining sites in the Western region.

The region has seen the water in the River Pra turn into creamy gold.

The Western regional tour has entered its second day with a visit to Golden Star mining company in the Prestea Huni Valley which has successfully reclaimed lands it mined.

The minister and his entourage were impressed seeing an ‘artificial forest’ created nine years ago out of lands reclaimed after the company had closed its mining pits.

‘This is not a natural forest’ Francis Sarfo, responsible for the company’s environmental management, pointed to flourishing flora and said ‘what you see here is an area that was once a pit’.

“If you are told this is a mining site, you wouldn’t believe it” Joy News Latif Iddrisu reported.

He pointed to 1.2 hectares of land reclaimed by the company which is now farm lands for residents.

Mr. Sarfo said the residents have planted cassava and plantain on these former mining pits proving that there can be life after mining.

Reclamation of contaminated lands is typically done by removing any hazardous materials, reshaping the land, restoring topsoil, and planting native grasses, trees, or ground cover.

Impressed by the work, the minister lauded the company and said it is an example of how environmentally safe mining should be done.

“We are not stopping mining. We are not against mining. We are stopping the methodology that is in Ghana now. We need to mine in a sustainable manner” the ‘galamsey’ minister stressed.

Government will also embark on a similar project albeit on a larger scale, the minister indicated.