The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has charged political and traditional authorities in the Ashanti region to be guided by posterity in their contributions towards the fight against illegal mining.
“The desire to ensure that future generations get access to safe water should be a motivating factor for all of us to actively participate in the fight against illegal mining.
“We must all come together and declare that never again are we going to allow people mine in our river bodies. We must continue with the good steps that will rid our environment off illegal activities,” he stated.
Mr Duker was speaking in Kumasi yesterday during a meeting with chiefs and traditional leaders as well as staff of the various Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs).
The meeting was aimed at rekindling their efforts as well as seek their collaborative supports to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the region.
He said the fight against illegal mining was an all-important task which required a collective resolve by all Ghanaians that “never again should we mine in our river bodies”.
He said such pledge should not be mere words of mouth but demonstrated through effective collaboration with government in its fight against illegal mining.
“What is left for us to do is to protect our water bodies. We know it’s not an event and we can’t completely abolish it but let’s reduce it to the barest minimum.
“It won’t be an easy battle but we can win. Government is doing its part, we must also do ours,” Mr Duker added.
On initiatives by government to reduce illegal mining activities and increase revenue in the small-scale mining sector, he stated that government would, in the coming days, inaugurate the ‘situational room’ where all mining activities in the country would be monitored.
He said every activities of miners and mining equipment would be transmitted digitally and viewed from the head office of the Minerals Commission.
This, the Deputy Minister noted, would add to the deployment of lifeguards, the permanent patrol of River Offin, Ankobra and Pra, the introduction of the Community Mining Scheme and others as a means of abolishing illegal mining and encouraging sustainable mining activities.
Benito Owusu-Bio, also a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, appealed to the traditional authorities to use their position as custodians of the land to resist illegal mining and protect resources for future generations.
The Ashanti Regional Minister, Simon Osei-Mensah, commended the government for the fight and urged residents in the region to report illegal mining activities in their localities.
He implored the Chief Executives of the various MMDCEs to help uproot the canker and save the region from further environmental degradation.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS