The Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister in charge of mines, George Mireku Duker says the current harsh law enforcement on illegal small-scale gold mining alone cannot win the fight against the devastation of the environment, therefore the Ministry’s intensification of nationwide mining communities sensitization on responsible mining.
Speaking to Citi News at one of such sensitizations attended by small-scale gold miners, chiefs and relevant stakeholders at Bepoh in the Prestea-Huni-Valley Municipality of the Western Region, George Mireku Duker said engagement on responsible community mining is the new tool to complement law enforcement in the fight against galamsey.
“If you understand mining very well and the kind of contribution small-scale gold mining does to the GDP, you will understand what we want to regularize, and you cannot basically do this with those harsh models of regularization. You have to combine all the models, including educating them to understand the need for regulation“, he said.
He further justified the Ministry’s newly adopted model of community sensitization on responsible mining with some evidence of the small-scale gold mining sector to the Ghanaian economy.
“Small-scale mining alone employs not less than one million Ghanaians directly while the large scale concessionaires take 30,000 Ghanaians and the indirect impact of this one million Ghanaian employment from the small scale gold mining is about 5 million. So we are talking of some large numbers of Ghanaians who are directly or indirectly benefiting from the small-scale mining venture. What we are saying is that we are not against it, but we want it to be done responsibly. Thus, refrain from destroying the river bodies, get your concession appropriately and government will regularize it for you and support you with mining equipment and make sure that the teaming youth get something to do“, he added.
George Mireku Duker said government cannot just throw away these one million Ghanaians employed by the small-scale mining sector to go home and suffer because of the implication, neither would government condone their destruction of the heritage of the country including the environment hence the nationwide education for them to understand the need to collaborate with government to eradicate this galamsey canker.
From the Prestea Huni-Valley Municipality sensitization on responsible mining, the Deputy Lands Minister will also meet small-scale mining stakeholders in the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipality for same sensitization.