The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker, has downplayed suggestions that the government’s anti-galamsey drive has been unsuccessful.
According to him, the campaign to safeguard the country’s water bodies is witnessing giant strides as some water bodies are experiencing a turnaround.
Addressing the issue of illegal small-scale mining, Mr Mireku Duker said contrary to suggestions that the government has thrown its hands in despair, it has actually stepped up its anti-galamsey drive with a series of key interventions.
He also mentioned that the government has procured 100 Gold Katcha machines to prevent the usage of mercury by small-scale miners and also help attract 90% of the threshold out of the ore processed by these miners.
The move, he said, will bring some life and confidence to their operations.
He indicated that reclamation, alternative livelihood, gold traceability, and the establishment of a refinery which he said is about 90% complete are some of the key interventions being rolled out by the government to promote responsible mining and make Ghana the preferred mining hub of Africa.
According to him, the purchase of five modern speedboats for patrol on major water bodies by the river guards, he explained will complement the effort of the Military to stamp out any illegal mining activities on the rivers.
Touching on the fusion of digitalisation and the illegal mining war, he mentioned that the tracking of all mining equipment will serve the purpose for which they were imported into the country adding that “the system can be operated centrally and remote-controlled in the various concessions”.
This will prevent the situation where people bring the equipment into the country under the guise of undertaking legitimate mining business only to use them for something completely different.
Detailing how the tracker works, the Tarkwa-Nsuaem MP said “the machines will be rendered ineffective should they go beyond the boundaries designed for them”.
On digitalisation, Mr Mireku Duker said licensed concessions will have QR codes that will make it easy for verification.
He is of the view that this move will enable the government rid the space of the unlicensed concessions which will positively affect the fight.
The retooling of the inspectorate divisions of the mining committees is another intervention being taken by the government to revive the fight against illegal mining, stressing that the sector Minister recently commissioned a number of vehicles to aid in that drive.
Elaborating on this move, Mr Duker said the anti-galamsey taskforce, (Operation Halt II), the District Mining Committees and their respective inspectorate divisions would have vehicles to empower them to discharge their duties effectively.
On the Community Mining Scheme, the Deputy Minister disclosed that “about 51,000 direct jobs have been created across five mining regions of the country” and added that the government has also outdoored an operational manual to guide and promote responsible mining, thereby promoting local champions in the small-scale mining arena.
Ghana, he said, will not only concentrate on gold mining but also promote industrial minerals such as quarry and salt operations and commended the wholly-owned Ghanaian salt business, Electrochem, for engaging in what he described as a very good business that has so far employed about Five (500) Hundred Ghanaian youth.
The Hon. Deputy Minister speaking on Accra-based Adom TV also used the platform to dismiss claims of his involvement in mining operations, saying Tarkwa which is home to his constituency host about 60% of Ghana’s mining activities and was, therefore, not surprised that some people have associated him to that assertion.
On Green Ghana 2022, the Ministry has ramped up its efforts to make this year’s Green Ghana Day, which will see the planting of 20 million trees a success, with a call on corporate Ghana to collectively work with the government to restore the nations forest cover and mitigate climate change, he concluded.