President Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo-Addo has said the fight against illegal mining is a fight meant to protect the natural environment for posterity and that the necessary measures would be adopted to halt this negative practice.
“In fact, it is not possible to stop mining in the country and I do not even have the power to do so as the President, since colonial days our forefathers have mined with no effects on the environment…why do we have Elmina which in Portuguese means “the Mine”- our fight is against the bad practices associated with illegal mining”, he said.
President Akuffo-Addo, speaking at a durbar of the chiefs and people of the Wassa Fiase Traditional area during the second day of his three-day tour to the Western Region, said “we cannot afford to repeat the mistakes of the past”.
The President said this is the time to nip the bad practices in the bud to save the country’s water bodies, lands and forest reserves for posterity.
In this regard, he said, the government has introduced the Multi-lateral Integrated Mining programme to streamline activities in the sector in order to regularize activities of small scale miners in a coordinated manner.
The President expressed unhappiness with the attitude of some Ghanaians who front for foreign nationals to engage in this illegal business saying small scale mining is the preserve of Ghanaians and not foreigners, why do we front for other nationals to destroy our lands?
The President acknowledged the contributions of the Tarkwa Municipal Area to national development adding that the Bonsa tyre company together with the Aboso glass factory would see some transformation to bring about more jobs to the youth.
Mr Joe Ghartey, Minister for Railway Development, assured the people that the rail lines in the area would soon undergo some reconstruction to boost transportation adding, “we have earmarked 54 kilometres as a special project”.
The Minister said the sector has also received more than 200 applications from investors to rejuvenate the rail sector and prayed that some significant success would be chalked within the next four years.
Dr Kwaku Afriyie, the Western Regional Minister, said more investments are needed in some sectors including the University of Mines and Technology and some road networks in the municipality.
Mr Joseph Boahene Aidoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board, said government would soon employ an additional 20,000 Ghanaians into the cocoa sector to help in the re-introduction of the mass spaying exercise.
He said Ghana would be able to meet the 1.5 million tonnes target set by the President due to various initiatives being employed and this includes mass spraying exercise, the hand pollination programme and the acquisition of equipment.
Nana Adu Payine II, chief of Mbeasie Nsuta, who spoke on behalf of the traditional authorities, called for the prompt payments of royalties in order to have cordial relationships with mining companies.
He said the area was prepared and has designed programmes as we await the implementation of the One District One Factory programme.