The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has advised that operators of small scale mining in the country must be treated with tact.
According to him, despite the activities of illegal miners, licensed small scale miners contribute significantly to Ghana’s economy hence a cautious approach must be employed in addressing the challenges plaguing the sector.
Speaking on JoyNews’ Newsfile on Saturday, he disclosed that based on available statistics, small scale mining contributes 40% of Ghana’s local gold produce.
In view of this, he admonished that even though illegal mining (galamsey) has unfortunately crept in the small scale mining sector, efforts to eliminate ‘galamsey’ must be carried out in a manner that does not affect proceeds from the sector.
“A good deal of work has gone into this matter of small scale mining; and we have been dealing with this matter from a two-pronged approach. From a reformative approach and the law enforcement approach; which is that, while you’re enforcing the law, you must also put in place a regime that makes that sector sustainable’, Mr Jinapor noted.
He continued: “[Let’s] always remember that small scale mining contributes 40% of Ghana’s gold output. And the gold industry gives Ghana its highest foreign exchange earning, and it’s the highest revenue mobilising sector when it comes to export.
So there’s a link between small scale mining, gold output, our national economy, our currency, our foreign exchange status and all of that, so when you’re dealing with small scale mining, you have to deal with it tactfully”.
The sector minister also added: “You don’t want a situation where you also roll out an enforcement regime that literally kills the sector completely, which will mean you’ll lose income which will jeopardize your economy”.
Mr. Jinapor made these comments, while contributing to a discussion on measures to adopt in dealing with ‘galamsey’ in Ghana.
In this regard, he stated that his outfit has taken note of all the previous suggestions on the issue, and will continue to work with stakeholders to address the challenges.
In a related development, the Managing Director of the Ghana Water Company Limited (GWCL), Dr. Clifford Braimah, has advocated the involvement of the Water Resources Commission in the fight against illegal mining in Ghana.
According to him, this will strengthen the inter-agency efforts being employed to deal with the menace.
Also speaking on NewsFile on Saturday, he explained that, the Water Resources Commission is a critical agency, whose mandate cannot be ignored if the fight against ‘galamsey’ will succeed.
He however noted that the Commission is currently under-resourced, hence the need for it to be retooled.
“I think that for us to be able to fight this menace, Water Resources Commission must be strengthened adequately to give them the necessary power to do what they have to do, and then resource them adequately”, he stressed.
The issue of galamsey has become topical in recent times, following the arrest of notorious kingpin, Aisha Huang.
The Chinese lady, who was reportedly deported from Ghana in 2018, was rearrested in Kumasi on September 5.
Her latest arrest rekindled the conversation about illegal mining and the complicity of government officials in the act.
But reacting to these rife allegations, government has consistently debunked them, insisting that it is committed to dealing with the menace.
Meanwhile, the ‘galamsey’ queen, Aisha Huang, is currently in prison custody, after she and her accomplices were denied bail on Thursday, September 15.
They will, however, appear in court on September 27.