Inter-ministerial c’ttee on illegal mining gets secretariat

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has inaugurated a permanent secretariat for the inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining to enable the group fight the menace effectively, in Accra on Thursday.

This is an indication that the commitment to control illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, remained resolute and immutable.

President Akufo-Addo urged Ghanaians to support the government to fight the menace, and protect the environment for the current and future generations.

“If we allow it to continue, we will be jeopardising both our present and our future. Our responsibility, to this end, is clear,” he said.

In March this year, the President on the advice of Cabinet, set up the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining to help fight the menace.

The committee has, over the months, been supported by the Chief of Staff at the Office of the President, the Minister for National Security, and the National Security Advisor.

At the commencement of its work, the committee recommended a six-month ban on small scale mining activities, and the ban was further extended for another three months, after the expiration of the initial ban.

President Akufo-Addo indicated that during the period of the ban, government gave directives to the committee to carry out certain activities to bring sanity into the artisanal gold mining sector.

The directives, he said, included Operation Vanguard, training of some 1,300 small-scale miners, a nationwide tour by the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs to solicit the support of chiefs, queen mothers and other traditional and opinion leaders in the fight against illegal mining, and regular interaction between the Inter-Ministerial Committee and the Small Scale Miners Association to craft a code of practice for small scale mining operations.

Additionally, President Akufo-Addo stated that district committees against illegal mining would be formed, before the first week of January, and indicated that the committees were expected to address all issues concerning small scale mining in the mining communities in their districts.

“The metropolitan, municipal and district chief executives have already been informed about the composition of the district committees, which will be inaugurated before the end of the first week of January.

“To champion the cause, the media has also formed the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining, which is waging the battle against galamsey across all fronts of the media landscape. The Coalition is doing invaluable, patriotic work,” he said.

President Akufo-Addo also told the gathering Ghana, this year, ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, as the 40th party, whose objective is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions, and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

He also commended the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) for allowing the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to constitute the Advisory Committee of the Minamata Convention on Mercury National Action Plan (NAP).

The President told the gathering that government was entering a new era in its efforts to formalise the small scale mining industry, so as to achieve sustainable mining with sound environmental practices.

“In the weeks and months ahead, I expect to see optimal co-ordination amongst participating ministries and the district mining committees, as well as close interaction with Operation Vanguard, small scale miners and the general public. I expect the committee to receive regular reports from mining centres, so that illegal activities can be dealt with immediately,” he said.

By Yaw Kyei

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