About 3,000 residents of Atronso in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai Municipal Assembly of the Western North Region are in line for employment following the launch of a new Community Mining Scheme (CMS) programme.
The Atronso-Ampenkrom CMS, which would also serve nearby communities, was launched by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, on Friday.
The Scheme is expected to create 2,000 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs for the residents.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Duker said despite the current economic challenges facing the country, the government was focused on creating jobs through a more responsible and sustainable mining model.
The CMS, he explained, was one of the initiatives by government to sanitise the small-scale mining sector to ensure the country realised the associated benefits.
“As a government, we are committed to sanitising the small-scale mining sector so that the enormous benefits it offers the country are achieved.
That is why government is tightening regulations and introducing initiatives, such as the CMS, to ensure the sector is formalised and well-managed,” Mr Duker stated.
The small-scale mining sector, he explained, was crucial to the development and transformation of the country’s economy, adding that it was currently providing employment to more than one million Ghanaians.
The large-scale mining companies, which have significantly higher investments, however, he said, employed over 30,000 Ghanaians.
The Deputy Minister noted that government had remained steadfast in sanitising the sector instead of placing a ban on it despite repeated calls on government to do so.
He cautioned the community and its leadership against allowing foreign involvement in the CMS, and also urged them to protect the water bodies in the area.
Mr Duker called for collaborative efforts from the public to enable the implementation of government’s measures to protect the country’s mineral resources.
Among other things, he said, the government had recruited 300 river guards to provide permanent patrol on water bodies, procured speedboats for patrol on water bodies and the registration and tracking of all earth-moving equipment in the country.
Nana Kwabena Appiah II, Akwamuhene of Sefwi- Bekwai Traditional Council, advised the government to ensure the community mining projects being inaugurated in the various mining regions did not end up destroying water bodies and farm lands.
Mr Alfred Obeng, Member of Parliament (MP) for Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai Constituency, said the fight to safeguard Ghana’s natural resources required the support of all citizens, and urged residents of the area to play lead role in the fight.
He underscored the importance of the Community Mining Scheme for the youth in the area and commended the Ministry for the efforts.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS