The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, has assured illegal miners of government’s plans to provide an alternative source of livelihood for all illegal miners sacked from mining sites.
According to Mr. Amewu, the government has fashioned out programmes to re-engage the miners who have been stopped from the illegal mining activities on a more sustainable level.
The Minister noted that the government is currently undertaking exploration activities in some areas to ensure that Ghanaians in particular who will be engaged in small-scale mining go to the right sites and mine using the appropriate methodologies which will not impact the environment negatively.
His comments come after illegal small-scale miners in the Western and Ashanti Regions protested the crusade against the activities of illegal small-scale miners across the country, lamenting that the government posturing of anti-mining for locals was not good.
The illegal miners are threatening to resume their activities at their sites if the government fails to assure them of an alternative work.
But the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu speaking on an Accra-based radio station Joy FM said, the government was not against Ghanaians engaging in mining but is rather for local miners following safe mining methods that would not affect the environment.
“This government is not anti-mining government at all but we are a government that believes that the current methodology that is applied in the process is wrong, cruel and wicked to human generations in this country and let me assure our brothers that we as government have an elaborate plan for the illegal miners who have abandon mining.”
“We are already doing an exploration in some areas. We want to determine those areas that minerals can be found in terms of quantity. These people that will be taken out from mining at the various sites will be brought together to work in a manner that will be acceptable,” he added.
Meanwhile at a public forum organised by Member of Parliament for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm, who is calling for re-zoning of mining concessions to be allocated to small-scale miners under a supervised regime, operators in mining-ravaged communities like Manso Adubia, Akropong and Manso Nkwanta say they will welcome moves by the government to help them mine safely but are against an outright ban.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources two weeks ago announced it was going to put in place an alternative livelihood programme, labeled a five-year Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP)for illegal miners who are expected to be out of work after today, as government clamps down on their activities.
“Those people who are taken out of their mining concessions are going to be integrated into what we call the Multilateral Mining Integration Project within a period of about five years to see how we can absorb them into an area where they will work collectively as a group to achieve their objective.”
Experts at the Ghana Water Company have warned that the country risks importing water for consumption unless illegal mining activities stop. They say the spate of water pollution in Ghana is approaching alarming levels.