The roadmap is expected to address issues such as reclaiming and re-afforestation of mined-out areas; restoration of impacted water bodies; and strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licenses and associated permits.
Other issues to be addressed in the roadmap would include the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project, the implementation of alternative livelihood projects, systematic control of the engagement of excavators and changfans in mining areas, and continued formalisation and regulation of the small-scale mining sector.
These measures, according to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, are to help streamline and sanitise the small-scale mining sector before the ban is lifted. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo made this known when he delivered the keynote address at the sensitisation workshop for traditional and religious leaders and stakeholders on the elimination of illegal mining in Ghana, held at the International Conference Centre in Accra yesterday.
“I assure you that, shortly, you will hear from government a statement setting out a comprehensive roadmap, including the lifting of the ban, to deal, on a permanent basis, with this grave threat to the present and future health of our nation.”In dealing with the menace, government set up, at the level of the Cabinet, an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, headed by Prof Kwabena Frimpong Boateng. The committee, at the commencement of its work, recommended an initial six-month ban on small-scale mining activities, a request which received a presidential assent. The ban has, since then, been extended.
The committee was tasked, among others, to carry out certain activities to bring sanity into the artisanal gold mining sector. These included the setting up of Operation Vanguard, a taskforce comprising officers and men from the Military and Police Service, tasked to prevent further pollution of water bodies and land degradation.
The President reported that 600 miners have so far been trained in sustainable mining methods at the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, while some 1,500 miners are currently receiving training.
The President added that the formation of District Mining Committees against illegal mining, with clearly defined terms of reference, as well as the deployment of satellite imagery and drone technology to monitor the mining activities of illegal miners, has been undertaken by the government.
“Government also ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, as the 40th State Party. The objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions, and releases of mercury and mercury compounds into the environment,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo expressed appreciation to the country’s revered religious leaders and eminent chiefs and queenmothers, for the support they have offered, and continue to offer, in the fight against galamsey.
He charged all stakeholders in the fight to put their shoulder to the wheel to make the galamsey fight a success.
“We all have a duty to say no to galamsey for our own common survival and the survival of those who are to come. If we allow it, we are jeopardising both our present and our future.”
The National House of Chiefs called on government to maintain the ban on illegal mining.
President of the National House of Chiefs, Togbe Afede XIV made the call at a sensitisation workshop for traditional authorities on illegal mining.
The traditional leader noted that the harmful effect of galamsey requires that the ban is maintained until a lasting remedy is put into force.
The Agbogbomefia of Asogli State further stressed that the process of licensing miners should be reviewed.
He said: “The National House of Chiefs advise on the maintenance of the ban on illegal mining until such a time that solutions are found to the harmful effects of this activity and also until such a time that enough has been put in place in terms of monitoring and feedback that will ensure that the dangers of illegal mining are minimised.
“Among others, again is a suggestion that the state should include security agencies in the fight against illegal mining.
“Also important is the suggestion that the processes for licensing of mining activities should be reviewed such that only those who are qualified and have the capacity to observe the duties involved are allowed to mine.”
Government has placed a ban on small-scale mining to protect the country’s water bodies and land from exhaustion.