Business News of Sunday, 27 May 2018
The World Bank is to support the implementation of the Multi-Sectorial Integrated Mining Project (MSIMP) of the government with US$ 50 million, with US$ 30 million as a loan and US$ 20 million as a grant.
Dr Isaac Bonsu Karikari, the Acting National Project Coordinator for the MSIMP disclosed this at a town hall meeting organised by the Media Coalition Against Galamsey (MCAG) at Osino, one of the communities affected by illegal mining, popularly called galamsey in the Eastern Region.
He explained that the MSIMP was to ensure responsible and sustainable small-scale mining in the country and also ensure that all players in the small-scale mining chain including landlords, traditional authorities, communities, government and the mining companies benefit from the small-scale mining.
Dr Karikari said under the project, district assemblies would establish mining committees with trained personnel who would monitor and ensure responsible and sustainable mining in their districts. Also, all excavators in the country would be registered and tracked so that they could easily be captured on drones when used for illegal mining for easy arrest of the owners.
He said the ban on small-scale mining would soon be lifted, though he was unable to give any date.
In a speech read on behalf of the Deputy Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Joseph Tettey, he expressed support of the Eastern Regional Coordinating Council for the activities of the MCAG and said mining committees had been established in the districts to support the fight against illegal mining. He called for collaboration and cooperation among all players in the fight against illegal mining.
Squadron Leader Omane Agyei of the Operation Vanguard (OV), the team of police and soldiers who are enforcing the ban on illegal mining in the country, appealed for stiffer punishment for people arrested for engaging in illegal mining.
He appealed for low loaders to enable the OV team move excavators and heavy machines seized from illegal miners from the forest to safety.
Squadron Leader Agyei said the OV team needed drones to be able to detect illegal miners operating in the bush and the team had seized 101 guns and 2,347 bullets.
The Eastern Regional Director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Mr Addo Kyere said illegal mining among other things brought along increased population and increased pressure on social amenities.
He said in some cases, host communities suffered increased family breakdowns as married women went after rich illegal miners and many young women got pregnant without husbands and ended up producing bastards for the country.
Earlier in an address, Mr Nii Laryea Sowah of the MCAG explained that, the MCAG was established to fight against illegal mining when the media realized that the government was failing to provide the required leadership to halt the destruction of river bodies, forest and threat of the lives of Ghanaians by the activities of illegal miners.
He said the MCAG has held eight town hall meetings and several stakeholder meetings across the country in communities affected by illegal mining to sensitize the people to help fight illegal mining to help stop the destruction of the environment.