Government to spend ¢500 million to find new jobs for illegal miners

Peter Amewu MLands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu

The Lands and Natural Resources Minister says the government will spend GHC500 million in finding alternative livelihood for people who are affected by illegal mining popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’.

John Peter Amewu explained that the five-year Multilateral Mining Integrated Programme (MMIP) which is aimed at eradicating the galamsey will need a minimum of GHC100 million every year.

“It may be at the higher end but we have to be very optimistic. If you have to spend GHC500 million and totally resolve the difficulties we have with galamsey, I believe it is worth it,” he said.

Government has said it will put in place an alternative livelihood programme for illegal miners who are out of work following moves to end their activities.

“Those people who are taken out of their mining concessions are going to be integrated into MMIP within a period of about five years. This is to see how we can absorb them into an area where they will work collectively as a group to achieve their objective.

“It is important that we are not going to allow mining near river bodies or mining in areas that are not acceptable; the degrading of the environment and cutting down of cocoa trees. Those ones, we will not allow it and I insist that it can no longer be accepted,” he said.

He is excited with the response from the general public and other stakeholder support, which makes him hopeful once it the project takes off it, will be successful.

Although some gains have been made, a group known as Volunteers Against Environmental Degradation who are working with the blessing of Mr Amewu and tasked to monitor and report the activities of illegal mining tells Joy News galamsey is ongoing in some communities.

According to them, the military is protecting the illegal miners and their sites in parts of the country, particularly in the Ashanti and Western regions.

The Executive Director of the group, Richard Addo, said their intervention led to the arrest of some 20 Chinese miners, this week.

He told Joy News’ Evans Mensah Wednesday that there are over 200 Chinese miners in the Amenase Forest in the Western region busily engaged in illegal mining with heavy-duty machine and excavators.

“As I speak to you, we have arrested 10 Chinese at Tarkwa who were mining illegally defying the orders of the president. The Tarkwa Divisional Police Command has arrested them,” he said.

Interestingly, the group was tipped off the activities of the galamseyers while the Minister was launching the MMIP in the Western region.

Mr Addo thanked the Lands Minister who has been supportive of their work so far, adding they have dedicated themselves to fighting galamsey and appealed for logistical support from the Minister.

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