The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor has called for depoliticization of the fight against illegal mining, emphasizing that any attempt to profit politically it might undermine the government’s efforts to combat the menace.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to promoting sustainable and responsible small-scale mining, which is reflected in the industry’s contribution to mineral output and the economy.
He said this when he delivered the keynote address at the opening day of the ‘Transformational Dialogue on Small Scale Mining’ organized by the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) on Wednesday in Sunyani.
Mr Jinapor noted that, while supporters of the ‘ban small-scale mining’ movement may have a point, the industry’s overall impact on Ghana’s socioeconomic situation makes any such choice unsustainable.
He mentioned that the small-scale mining sector has been an essential component of the government’s accomplishments in the mining sector and that all efforts necessary to promote the business would be engaged, using numbers from 2022 to back up his argument.
“The small-scale mining sector is an important sector for the national economy. This is why we must collaborate and adopt an all-hand-on-deck approach to the fight against illegal small-scale mining. The government will continue to do its part but we require the support of all of us to achieve the desired result. We must eschew the politicization of this. This must be a national call,” he said.
He pointed out some of the noteworthy policy interventions and activities embarked on by the government to sanitize the sector.
“Under the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), which was launched by President Akufo-Addo in 2021, for example, we are providing alternative sources of income and livelihood to persons engaged in mining. This Programme employs several youths in the production of seedlings and reclamation of degraded mined lands. Currently, reclamation is ongoing in over one thousand hectares (1,000 ha) of degraded lands in Ashanti, Eastern and Western North Regions,” he noted.
Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediaku, the Vice Chancellor of UNER, noted that a good understanding of the challenges confronting the extractive sector is a key element for the design of a successful dialogue and would require the expertise of strong and well-coordinated institutions like the University of Energy and Natural Resources.
UENR is mandated to promote the development of human resources and skills required to solve critical energy and natural resources challenges of society and undertake interdisciplinary academic research and outreach programmes.
Irene Wirekoaa Osei, ISD