General News of Friday, 6 October 2017
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has said his outfit will be seeking at least a three-month extension to the ban on all forms of small-scale mining when Cabinet convenes.
According to him, the despite some positive results yielded so far in the fight against galamsey in the country, the outcome of the campaign, in general, is still unsatisfactory.
The initial six-month ban was set to end in October 2017, and Peter Amewu, earlier suggested that an extension was inevitable because the moratorium had not achieved a substantial amount of its objectives.
Speaking on Eyewitness News on Thursday, Amewu, who refused to score the government’s anti-galamsey efforts higher than five out of ten, believes that an extension of the ban by at least three months could yield significant strides in the campaign.
“Looking at something similar to what has happened[so far], we could go for about 50% [of the six-month ban]. If we concentrate on the water bodies, which is the heart of the whole fight, we should be able to clear it within the next three to six months,” he said.
Amewu had told the media earlier in October that President Nana Akufo-Addo “thinks sincerely that a lot more needs to be done and we would all have to look into it.”
Per his assessment, the government is still far off from its targets, in the fight against illegal mining.
‘$3m drones have unique specs’
John Peter Amewu also responded to concerns about plans by the government to procure three million dollars worth of drones to aid in the galamsey fight.
With many questioning the amount of money earmarked for the procurement of the drones, Amewu defended the decision and the planned expenses, stating that drones had special features that would greatly boost the anti-galamsey efforts.
“These are quite complex, high-level specification drones that we want to apply. These drones are non-visible when they are up in the air. They are sound-free and they can zoom down to about five meters even at a height of about 3, 000 kilometres. It can go to as far as about 27, 000 feet above sea level. It can do a lot of things and it’s very complex,” he said.
“We want to do things properly. We are looking at alternative ways of financing the two sets we’re getting. The batteries can last for about 14 hours. We can use it for a variety of projects, like the protection of our forests.”