The deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker, has charged District Assemblies to urgently institute adequate measures to check encroachment of quarry sites.
That, he said, was necessary to forestall fatal incidents that could result from the exploration of granites, and protect the operations of quarry businesses in the country.
Addressing members of the quarry operators at Afigya Kwabre South District in the Ashanti Region yesterday, Mr Duker tasked the operators to take measures to secure their concessions.
He underscored the important role of the quarry industry to Ghana’s economy by accentuating that the continuous encroachment on quarry site by unaccredited persons and institutions thwarted the effort of government in raising revenue for the industry and the country.
He thus declared a war on encroachment of quarry sites and warned that any person or organisation found to have acted in contravention of the laws and regulations would not be spared.
“It is really important for us to protect our natural resources. We are all yearning for developmental projects but how can we do these without our stones. If you encroach, how do we get them. If an assembly wants to build schools and you encroach, how do we resolve that. Where are they going to get the stones?”
“Let’s come together as an association and a country to protect and prevent encroachment on these concessions,” he said.
Mr Duker also explained that the government, as part of plans to increase local participation in the mining industry, had agreed with some banks to set up a special Unit designated to provide financial assistance to Ghanaian investors in the mining sector.
This, he said, would erase the phenomenon of Ghanaians fronting for foreigners in the small-scale mining industry.
He further cautioned that after all these steps, the government would not condone any act of illegality by any Ghanaian or foreigner.
“I agree mining is capital intensive and that you may involve foreign nationals but with small-scale mining, the law abhors foreigners from engaging in it. Small-scale mining is the preserve of Ghanaians. If you are a foreigner, you are only allowed to mine in the large-scale industry,” he added.
The District ChiefExecutive of Afigya Kwabre South, Mr Christian Adu Poku, bemoaned the encroachment of concessions in the area. Lamenting the situation, he also outlined steps taken so far by his outfit to deal with the situation.
He warned that Ghana risked losing ‘billions of dollars’ if punitive actions were not instituted to prevent encroachment of concessions.
The Chairman of the Northern Chapter of the Ghana Quarry Operators Association, MrAdu Tutu Gyamfi, tasked the government to take drastic measures to stop what he described as ‘’attack on quarry concession’.