Regional Minister charges small scale miners to adopt ethical mining practices

Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister has advised small scale miners to adopt ethical mining practices to save their trade.

He said the Western Region must act as the focal point for ethical mining and mining-related activities, and it behooves the leadership of small-scale miners to outline realistic and holistic approach to tackle small scale mining activities.

According to Mr Darko-Mensah, “we need a new way to stop ours from doing what is characterised as galamsey in a more purposeful way as a service than as a policeman.”

The Western Regional Minister who is also the Member of Parliament (MP) for Takoradi, expressed these sentiments in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Takoradi.

The minister said: “We cannot fetish our own when they can easily be corrected with three washing wells or dams.”

 He charged “professionals in the industry to engage mining communities to educate them on the best mining practices to ensure that in whatever mining they are engaged in, they do the right thing always to save our lands and water bodies “, and avoid the washing of dirt into the rivers.

Mr Darko-Mensah said the need to decentralise mining licenses to enable the district assemblies take responsibility directly for reclamation and revenue collection and account up.”

The Western Regional Minister wondered why “the country allows foreigners to take 97 per cent of proceeds from our mining exploration and expect only 3 per cent to develop Tarkwa for example.”

He said until something was done about the 97 per cent of Ghana’s gold which remained in the hands of multi-national corporations, the youth would continue to find unrealistic alternatives to survive.

“We need to find new ways to ensure that more Ghanaians properly own the productive assets in the mining industry so that more of the 97 per cent would accrue to indigenous Ghanaians.”

Mr Darko-Mensah expressed the hope that if Ghana entered into realistic sharing agreements with gold mining companies, the government would be able to create more jobs and use the money accruing from the mining sector to pay workers.

The Regional Minister said mining in Ghana was a-seven-billion-dollar industry with direct government take of only 3 per cent yet employing over five million people directly and indirectly with roughly 30 per cent of Ghana’s adult population of 17 million. –GNA

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