General News of Tuesday, 25 July 2017
Minerals Commission of Ghana has warned politicians across the political divide to stop the habit of interfering in the fight against illegal small scale mining activities which is destroying water bodies and the environment.
The commission kicked against the move by politicians to promise local miners concessions during the electioneering campaign season to solicit their votes. “We believe it is dangerous when politicians across the political divide interfere in processes which they have very little or no control over,” Chief Executive Officer of Mineral Commission, Dr. Toni Aubyn, stressed.
Addressing participants at a national stakeholders’ workshop on how to control illegal mining in Ghana held at Tarkwa recently, Dr. Aubyn said the reasons why illegal mining was still in existence was because of its complexity, relatively high gold price, greed and to get wealth quick mentality.
Other contributory factors, according him, are connivance of some chiefs, land owners and opinion leaders with foreigners in remote areas, Ghanaians fronting for foreigners to operate in the small scale mining and political interference. He asserted that “we have been badly affected by the activities of illegal mining, our water bodies have been polluted; the environment has been depleted so it is time we joined the campaign to stop galamsey now.”
For his part, Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mr. John Peter Amewu, used the opportunity to explain how the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) policy will work. He said government, among other things, has decided to decentralise the Minerals Commission to boost the fight against illegal mining.
He added: “We will ensure that mining activities are undertaken in an environmental sustainable manner. We will ensure that land restoration is undertaken after mining operations come to an end.
“We will fully decentralise the Minerals Commission by establishing additional districts of the commission where appropriate. These were the fundamental principles that we presented to Ghanaians based on which Ghanaians looked through and endorsed the NPP as a government.”
He noted that it was “incumbent on us as a government to ensure that the rationale and fundamental principles based on which we’ve been elected are adhered to and strictly in terms of deliverables.” These, in many other strategies, according to him, have informed the development of the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project document,” he added.