President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said the Attorney-General and Minister for Justice has his support to prosecute persons found to be engaging in illegal mining in the country.
Speaking at the 2022 Bar Conference of the Ghana Bar Association on Monday in Ho, President Akufo-Addo said the governments over the years had taken strong measures to protect the country’s lands, water bodies and the environment from environmental degradation and climate change.
President Akufo-Addo said that he fully supported the Attorney General’s determination to prosecute Aisha Huang and her collaborators, who had insisted on flouting the country’s laws against illegal mining.
“I expect, if they are found guilty, that the courts will apply the full vigour of the new amended Act 995, which has increased substantially the punishment for breaches of the law,” the President stated.
President Akufo-Addo said, on the contrary, the government was in full support of responsible small-scale mining activities, as they provided an avenue for Ghanaians to participate in the mining industry and contribute substantially to Ghana’s gold exports.
In October 2021, the government launched the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme, designed to help alleviate the hardships of those affected by the government’s efforts to sanitise the mining industry.
Available data shows that the small-scale mining industry accounts for some 40% of Ghana’s gold exports and has played a critical role in making Ghana the leading producer of gold in Africa.
Small-scale mining, according to the President, should, “be encouraged and we will do all that is necessary to promote it for our collective benefit.”
President Akufo-Addo stressed that “what we cannot do and will not allow to happen, is to permit mining activities to threaten the environment which sustains our lives and the lives and livelihoods of generations unborn.”
He added that “We owe a sacred duty to preserve the environment, even as we reap the benefits of our natural resources. Small scale mining can, and must, only be done responsibly.”
Rex Mainoo Yeboah, ISD