The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has served notice of government’s intention to lift the ban on illegal mining activities within the framework of a comprehensive roadmap to restore sanity into the small-scale mining sector.
Opening a two-day sensitisation workshop on the elimination of illegal mining in Ghana for traditional and religious leaders as well as queen mothers in Accra on Monday, President Akufo-Addo stated that the temporal ban on galamsey was supposed to be a measure to streamline the small-scale mining sector.
He gave the indication that the government would soon make a clear statement setting out a comprehensive roadmap to include the lifting of the ban to permanently deal with the galamsey menace on a permanent basis.
The workshop organised by the Ministry of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs in collaboration with the Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining also had ministers of state, some Members of Parliament, members of the Council of State and other dignitaries in attendance.
The government imposed an initial six-month ban on small-scale mining activities in 2017 and the ban has since then been in force as a result of several extensions to enable the government to sanitise the sector but the extended ban has incurred the wrath of small-scale miners who have in the last few months been agitating against the long imposition saying that the action has caused untold hardships on them and their families.
But President Akufo-Addo in announcing the government’s decision to lift the ban said the roadmap would address among other issues, the reforestation and reclamation of mine-affected areas, the restoration of water bodies, the strict supervision on the processes of awarding mining licenses and associated permits and the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project.
He added that the comprehensive map would also include the implementation of alternative livelihood project for the illegal miners, the systematic control on the engagement of excavators in mining areas and the continued regularisation of the small-scale mining sector.
“When the ban is lifted you will have the responsibility to preserve our lands, water bodies and environment. We all have a duty to say no to galamsey for our own common survival and the survival of those who are to come after us,” President Akufo-Addo told the traditional ruler.