General News of Tuesday, 1 August 2017
The National Association of Small Scale Miners is questioning the absence of alternative jobs for thousands of its members following the deployment of a special task force tasked to clamp down on illegal small scale miners.
The 400 specially trained security task force made up of the Police and Military will on Tuesday begin applying force to remove illegal small scale miners from the Western, Ashanti and Eastern regions.
The deployment is part of President Nana Akufo-Addo’s resolve to stamp out illegal mining activities that have destroyed critical water sources and ecosystem.
The anti-galamsey campaign is being led by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, headed by John Peter Amewu.
However, Secretary for the Western Regional Small Scale Miners Association, Nuhu Mustapha, is warning the move by the Government could lead to other vices.
“I as an individual will appreciate the move by the Government to move all of them out…now if you don’t want them to mine, what employment have you created that these people are going to benefit from to put a total stop to this illegality?” he demanded.
The issue of alternative livelihood did not come up during the launch of the Operation Vanguard taskforce on Monday, however, Joy News has learned that the Government is in the process of designing a programme to benefit those likely to be affected by the anti-illegal mining clamp down.
Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Taskforce Committee, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, has cautioned members of the Association from taking the law into their own hands.
He said government was open to dialogue, urging them to come forward with fitting proposals.
Meanwhile, during the presentation of the mid-year budget review in Parliament Monday, the Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta, provided details on government’s five-year Multilateral Mining Integration Project designed to provide alternative livelihoods to affected illegal small-scale miners. Among other things, the project will
• Train 100,000 small-scale miners;
• Reclaim 7,140km2 (3% of total land size of Ghana);
• Build skills for employment ( within 10-12 weeks);
• Create 100,000 jobs; and
• Create 20,000 acres of oil palm plantations.