Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, has said there is a plan to provide an alternative source of livelihood for illegal miners sacked from mining sites.
Speaking to Joy News on Tuesday morning, the Minister said contrary to the sentiments of the beleaguered illegal miners, the Nana Akufo-Addo-led administration is not against mining but is rather committed to ensuring that safe mining methods are carried out.
“This government is not anti-mining government at all but we are a government that believes that the current methodology that is applied in the process is wrong, cruel and wicked to human generations in this country,” he said.
His comments come as hundreds of angry illegal small-scale miners in the Prestea Hemang District of the Western Region agitate against the crusade against activities of illegal small scale miners across the country.
The illegal miners took to the chief’s palace, Monday, where two deputies of the Lands and Natural Resources had been meeting the chief to discuss how to end the scourge of illegal mining.
There have been similar agitations in the Ashanti Region too.
Illegal miners in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region are threatening to go back to resume their activities if the government fails to immediately spell out measures to get them alternative work.
Operators in mining-ravaged communities like Manso Adubia, Akropong and Manso Nkwanta say they will welcome moves by the government to help them mine safely but are against an outright ban.
This summed up the mood of participants at a public forum of illegal miners, chiefs and other stakeholders at Manso Nkwanta on Monday.
The public forum was organised by Member of Parliament for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm, who is calling for re-zoning of mining concessions to be allocated to small-scale miners under a supervised regime.
Reacting to the agitations Mr Amewu says the government has a plan for the aggrieved illegal miners.
“We have an elaborate plan for the miners,” he said Tuesday.
The plan, he said, is to re-engage the miners who have been stopped from the illegal mining activities on a more sustainable level.
“We are already doing an exploration in some areas. We want to determine those areas that minerals can be found in terms of quantity. These people that will be taken out from mining at the various sites will be brought together to work in a manner that will be acceptable,” he said.
As part of an anti-illegal mining campaign, 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.
Pressure has been mounting on other 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.