The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, says his outfit will revoke licenses of companies who at the expense of indigenous people engage foreigners in community mining schemes across the country.
Following drastic measures by the government to fight illegal mining due to the massive pollution to water bodies and the destruction of forest reserves, many local miners have complained about the lack of alternative job opportunities.
Government in a bid to create job opportunities for persons living in mining areas then introduced the community mining initiative.
Many inhabitants have alleged that mainly New Patriotic Party (NPP) members are the ones benefiting from the initiative. In some instances, others have said foreigners, particularly Chinese, have been engaging in illegal mining.
A new area to have community mining is Tokwae, within the Asante Akim South Municipality of the Ashanti Region.
As a predominantly farming community with little activity within the area, this initiative is expected to turn the fortunes of the people in the area and other neighbouring communities around.
In order to address concerns raised by residents within some mining communities against the community mining initiative, the Lands and Natural resources Minister, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor says government is restructuring the initiative to make it achieve the intended purpose and also protect the environment.
He further revealed that President Akufo-Addo has directed that all community mining schemes be restructured to ensure strict adherence to all protocols.
He made this statement at Tokwae in the Asante Akim South District of the Ashanti Region, where he launched a community mining scheme within the area.
“From the instructions of the president, we are restructuring the mining sector of our country, particularly the small scale mining sector. Sometime last year, my deputy minister Hon. George Mireku Duker launched a community mining scheme manual, which is the manual that stipulates the basic requirement of any community mining in our country. So far, we have commissioned 7 community mining schemes. This year, God willing, under the direction of the president, we intend to commission 50 community mining schemes across the country”.
He has also stressed the need for indigenous people within various communities to benefit from the scheme, adding that he will revoke licenses of companies that engage foreigners at the expense of indigenous people.
“This community mining scheme must be for the community (the people of Tokwae and the people of Asante Akim). Foreigners are not allowed to participate in this community mining scheme. If that happens, we will revoke the license immediately. If one foreigner is found working in this mining operation, the mining lease or the license which I have signed as minister stand revoked”.
Traditional leaders within the area have thrown their support behind the initiative and want all stakeholders to play their roles as expected to ensure it achieves the desired results.
“There are one hundred and ninety-eight (198) communities here. This is the first time we are hearing of mining activities to take place within this area. We thank our leaders for coming up with this. Traditional leaders here will all support to make it a success,” Nana Ayim Kum Nipa II, the Paramount Chief of Asante Akim Gyadam, spoke on behalf of the traditional leaders within the area (Tokwae and surrounding communities).
An opinion leader in the area who will play a key role in the scheme, Yaw Opoku who spoke to Citi News urged the relevant stakeholders to ensure due diligence is done.
“We want them to strictly comply with the laws on community mining to ensure no one engages in corruption. This will help ensure development here. The assembly should get involved to ensure that the community is not short-changed, which will then reduce the unemployment situation within this area”.