Moves to check children in mining

Nii Osah Mills(seated second from right)Minister of Lands and Natural Resources with the participants.Photo.Ebo Gorman (2)The Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations in Accra yesterday launched a five million-dollar project, aimed at eliminating child labour in the mining sector.

Dubbed, ‘Caring gold mining project’, it is funded by the United States (US) government, and implemented in Ghana and the Philippines, with support from the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The three-year project is primarily designed to convene stakeholders to develop and implement strategies to reduce child labour, and enhance working conditions in artisanal and small-scale gold mining.

The minister, Mr. HarunaIddrisu, in a speech read on his behalf, named Amansie Central, Aowin and WassaAmenfi East district assemblies as the beneficiaries of the project.

According to the minister, communities such as Adumenu and Abedwum in the Amansie Central District in the Ashanti Region and Sewum, Achimfo, Dadieso and Morchikrom in Wassa Amenfi East District in the Western Region would be supported to address child labour in the mining sector.

He said a comprehensive strategy with a national action plan had been developed to tackle the situation in all sectors of the economy, including formalising artisanal and small scale mining.

Mr. Iddrisu explained that the move was to ensure a simpler and fastest procedure in obtaining mining license, and at the same time consulting with a wide range of stakeholders to strengthen policies, legislation and enforcement.

He assured of government’s commitment to eradicate child labour, expressing optimism that the action plan would help eliminate the worst forms of child labour by 2020.

“Child labour should be appreciated as one issue of priority to national economic growth. Therefore, there is an urgent need to formulate and implement a multi-sectoral approach that would urge all stakeholders to combat the canker,” he said.

The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Nii Osa Mills, urged parents and other stakeholders to prevent children from engaging in mining activities.

He said government’s efforts to eradicate the menace through existing legislature would prove futile if stakeholders, particularly parents did not support the national agenda.

Mr. Mills warned small-scale mining not to employ the services of people below the age of 18.

He commended the US government for financing the project and appealed to other development partners to come to the aid of the country in tackling child labour.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr. Robert P. Jackson, making a reference to a local proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child”, urged society to guard against child labour.


By Charles Amankwa

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