The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, has called on all stakeholders in the mining sector to put hands on deck and ensure proper regulation of the sector.
He said this when he delivered the keynote address at the first Student Representative Council (SRC) Public Lecture of the Ghana School of Law, held at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology last Friday.
Stressing on the importance of the subject, the Minister said “We cannot regulate illegal mining if for example the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission cannot monitor the operations of mining or do their work on the principles of integrity and transparency”.
“We cannot regulate this sector if the Minister, Deputy Ministers and officials of the Ministry who have the responsibility to offer supervisory duty do not do so on account of integrity,” he stated.
Speaking on the theme “The Legal Regime of the Mining sector in Ghana, History, Challenges And the Way Forward,” the Minister gave the assurance to continue the fight against illegal mining in line with the President’s vision of working tirelessly with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to construct a lands and natural resources sector which is effectively managed, transparent, and anchored on integrity.
He also disclosed that in view of this fight, an amount of GHC20 has been allocated by government in the 2022 budget to help in the fight against galamsey.
As part of efforts to encourage and promote responsible small scale mining in the country, the Minister said the Ministry had instituted Responsible Small Scale Awards Mining Scheme.
He said the scheme would hold its maiden edition on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, and from this year, be an annual event “to reward small scale miners who adhered to the health, safety and environmental standards of mining”.
Mr Jinapor also highlighted some challenges within the mining sector such as the lack of value addition, over concentration on gold, and environmental hazard which he said was as a result of lack of personnel to provide supervision from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, who have oversight responsibility in protecting people and the environment from significant health risks, developing and enforcing environmental regulations.
He, therefore, called on tertiary institutions across Ghana to come up with higher education in mining to ensure and provide well resourced graduates who with their qualifications and knowledge help better the industry.
“It is my hope that this lecture, will set the tone for a broader conversation on Mineral and Mining law and perhaps the introduction of the mining law as a separate and distinct course at the faculties and the introduction of master’s programme in mining,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman of the Public Lecture and Director for Legal Education at the Ghana School of Law, Mr Kwasi Prempeh-Eck, expressed his profound gratitude to the minister for such a detailed and well-presented lecture.
The SRC President of the Ghana School of Law, Mr Wonder Victor Kutor, in his remarks applauded the efforts of government in the mining sector. He further added that as part of the yuletide season, the Ghana School of Law has made arrangements to pay the fees of some students in need in selected institutions.
The all-important public lecture, first of its kind, attracted hundreds of stakeholders such as top government officials, Members of Parliament, traditional leaders, Metropolitan and Municipal Chief Executives and academia.