Govt won’t lift ban on small scale mining- Lands Minister

Mr John Peter Amewu  addressing  the small scale miners

Mr John Peter Amewu addressing the small scale miners

Government will not lift the temporal ban it has placed on small scale mining activities in the country, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Mr John Peter Amewu, has maintained.

 

According to Mr Amewu, the moratorium was meant to sanitise the small scale mining sector until a roadmap to ensure mining was done responsibly was developed.

 

In a meeting with the Small Scale Miners Association (SSMA) in Kumasi on Friday, the Natural Resources Minister said the decision to place the temporal ban on mining was in the best interest of the country.

 

The SSMA is demanding that government, with immediate effect, lifts the moratorium it had placed on mining in the country.

 

The miners, at a press conference in Kumasi on Thursday, gave the government a three- day ultimatum to lift the ban or come clear on the suspension of their activities; lest they hit the streets with a demonstration.

 

They argued that they were legally mining and that the ban was having an effect on their livelihoods and accused the minister of taking a unilateral decision which was impoverishing them.

 

The miners clad in red apparels displayed placards some with the inscriptions “we will defend the rule of law,” “Amewu is naive,” Amewu is a dictator,” amongst others.

 

But Mr Amewu said “the decision to ban all forms of small scale mining is not my decision. It is a government decision and as a government, we are committed to keeping that decision until a solution to the devastation is found.”

 

The New Patriotic Party (NPP) formed government, he said, was not anti mining but concerned about how mining should be done.

 

He said acquiring a licence was not enough but how the licence was used in extracting the mineral, adding that the natural resources were for Ghanaians but needed to be extracted responsibly so that it does not have negative rippling effects on the environment.

 

“We are not against your operations. What we are against is how some of you use your licenses to mine on river bodies and forests.

 

“Ghana is for all of us and I urge you to join me in this fight so that we flush out the bad ones among you,” he implored them.

 

The General Secretary of the SSMA, Mr Godwin Armah said the group was equally concerned about the environment and had formed a task force which had flushed out some illegal miners along the various water bodies in the region.

 

He said the group was ready to cooperate with the government but wants the six months period for the ban reduced because that was their only form of employment, adding they would communicate their next line of action in due course.

From Julius Yao Petetsi, Kumasi

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