The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mines, Mr George Mireku Duker, has commended the chiefs and people of Asunafo in the Atiwa West District of the Eastern Region for their commitment to the protection of the environment, more specifically the Atiwa Forest.
He noted that government was impressed with the initiatives taken by communities to safeguard the environment.
Delivering a speech during the inauguration of the Asunafo Community Mining Scheme, Mr Duker extolled the role of traditional authorities in setting up the scheme.
He appealed to them to continue playing their role as custodians of culture and resources and help the government in its bid to maximise revenue in the mining sector and encourage Ghanaian participation in the mining sector.
He reminded the gathering that contrary to assertions elsewhere, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo held highly the role of small scale mining in the growth of the country.
He said that the government had set out to raise local giants in the mining sector and viewed the small-scale mining sector as the perfect platform to achieve the set objective.
He indicated that the scheme would operate on an operational manual which dictated the health and safety conditions that must be adhered to at all times.
“President Akufo-Addo is not against mining but all for responsible mining. You’ve done well to protect the forest and we urge you to continue.
“We’ve been briefed that the mining has the blessing of the chiefs and we believe you’ll adhere to the rules.
“We want to follow all the health and safety measures. We have the backing of the law to close down the concession in case of such things. We have developed an operation manual for the concession.
“We’ve sat down with the chiefs and all stakeholders and the Asunafo Community Mining is the only licensed scheme here.
“South Africa used gold to develop their cities and it’s a vision of the president that we create Ghanaian champions in the industry. It’s our target within the next five years only Ghanaians will participate in community mining.”
He said there will be capacity building programmes to equip the members of the District Mining Committees with the Knowledge and resources to discharge their mandate.
On his part, the Zambian Minister of Mines and Mineral Development , Mr Paul Kabuswe, who is in the country to familiarise himself with Ghana’a mining regime, saidthe community mining scheme was a great module worthy of emulation by his country.
He was full of praise for the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the various interventions employed to restructure Ghana’s mining sector.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Seth Acheampong, recognised the works of government in improving the lives of Ghanaians.
He welcomed the Community Mining Scheme as a laudable initiative that would create jobs and help people in the area.