Clamping down on illegal mining to cost $200m – Deputy Lands Minister

About US$200 million is needed for the implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) developed by government to support the clamp down of illegal mining in the country.

Expected to span over a period of five years, the project which is yet to be launched, also focuses on sanitising the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining (ASM) sector.

Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Benito Owusu-Bio, said US$30 million has been secured from the World Bank to conduct baseline studies for the project.

He was speaking at the opening of a two-day Africa Conference on ASM and Quarrying in Accra yesterday.

It was on the theme “ASM and Quarrying: A Key to National Development.”

The funds from the World Bank, he said, would also be used in supporting activities after the lifting of the ban on ASM, procure consultants and necessary equipment and establish a national project coordination office.

In addition to government’s budgetary allocation for the project, he said the government was in discussions with other development partners and organisations to raise the remaining funds for full implementation of the project.

The MMIP, he stated, had five key components including revision and enforcement of the legal and regulatory regime for ASM and reclamation of degraded lands, dredging of silted estuaries and waterways and free lands for agribusiness.

Others include the implementation of social interventions to facilitate sustainable livelihood creation in mining communities, adoption of technology for efficient mining, processing and environmental monitoring activities, Mr Owusu-Bio stated.

Capacity building of small scale miners, regulatory institutions and effective project management, he said would also be undertaken to ensure the project implementation was successful.

Government, the Deputy Minister said, would create the enabling environment for orderly, sustainable and environmentally sound development of ASM to exploit its potential to contribute growth and development to the economy.

Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, explained that although there has been challenges in government’s efforts to curb the menace of illegal mining, the successes chalked should be the basis for more work to be done to end the practice.

He said training of artisanal and small-scale miners and regulators,  monitoring of mining activities and enforcement of mining laws should be intensified to complement all other strategies being implemented to address illegal mining.

The Australian government, he said would continue to offer assistance to its Ghanaian counterpart to be able to sanitise the ASM sector for the benefit of Ghanaians.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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