The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, has observed that the Upper East Region is increasingly becoming the mining hub of northern Ghana and some parts of Africa including Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso.
The Minister who made the observation when he met personnel of sector agencies of the ministry during a working visit to the region, stated thatamong thefive regions of the north, the Upper East Region is the one endowed with commercial quantities of mineral deposits such as gold, bauxites, iron, granite and sand
MrJinapor stated that based on these huge potentials of commercial quantities of mineral deposits in the region, the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo , had directed the Ministry to ensure that effective laws and regulations were put in place and enforcedto ensure efficient compliance of mineral laws .
He explained that the good intention of the President was to help ensure responsible mining, retaining the value chain in the region as well as help prevent the pollution of water bodies and the environment as experienced in many mining communities in the southern parts of the country.
“The trust of President Akufo-Addo’s strategy in respect of the emerging hubs of our country is that the very outset, we work to ensure there is enhanced regulations and that the rules and laws are respected from the get go, so that we don’t get ourselves in a situation where it gets out of hand before we work to crawl back,” he said.
The Sector Minister stressedthat recognisingthe fact that the Upper East Region is a border region to Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and the political andthe securitysituations in those countries meant that the regulations in the mining sector in the region must be of primordial concern to the Ministry.
He explainedthat the government was committed to working with stakeholders in the region, especially the mining communities to ensure that all issues were amicably resolved and all the laws pertaining mining in Ghana were well respected and followed.
The Minister indicated that the government would strengthen and build the capacity of the sector agencies, particularly the Minerals Commission to ensure that a well regulated system was established to fight illegalities and ensure responsible mining.
“I may also add that, realizing the vision of the President, of maintaining the value chain in the localities in the country and the region is key to the government,” he added.
MrJinapor indicated that his Ministry would continue to collaborate with the Regional Security Council and other stakeholders to fasten our effective strategy to ensure that mining activities was beneficial to the standard of living of the region and the socio-economic growth of the country.
On his part, the Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubustated that the region was endowed with lots of natural resources, including mineral deposits, water resources and forest reserves, and there was the need to ensure that the unique resources were properly harnessed to benefit the people of the region.
MrYakubu pledged to collaborate with the ministry and other major stakeholders to ensure all disputes were resolved, and the mining laws were complied with to also protect the environment and human lives.
The Regional Minister said that the Shaanxi Mining Company, the Chinese Mining firm which was now called Earl International was moving into large scale mining to ensure that both region and the company benefitted equally in the agreement.
FROM SAMUEL AKAPULE, BOLGATANGA