A National Consultative Dialogue aimed at identifying a more responsible and sustainable means of exploiting mineral resources on small scale level has ended in Accra with a call on stakeholders to eschew partisanship.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who opened the two day event noted the need for discussions on the subject matter to be devoid of the usual parochial partisan interests for the good of the country.
According to him “mining can create jobs, generate wealth and improve and livelihoods but cannot be allowed to destroy the environment that produces the riches” hence the need to adopt a national consensus on mining on the country’s lands.
“We cannot have one part of the political divide campaigning for galamsay in the bush and the other waging an official fight against galamsay in the open” President Akufo-Addo stated.
He challenged participants to be candid with their thoughts for a broad- based national consensus to help stamp out the peril of illegal mining in the country saying “Some subjects simply cannot be part of our everyday politicking’’.
The President during his second term inaugural address on 7th January this year called for an urgent national conversation to end the menace of illegal mining popularly referred to as galamsay which has destroyed several water bodies and the nation’s vegetation cover.
The national consultative dialogue by the Lands and Natural Resources ministry headed Samuel Abdulai Jinapor as Minister within two months after assuming office was a direct respond to the President’s directive whilst drawing lessons from the past four years efforts for an enhanced strategy to curb the threat.
“We want to build on the modest progress made in my first term. We want to learn from our shortcomings, and receive productive inputs from this forum for purposes of enhancing the regulation of the sector. Out of this maiden consultative dialogue, I hope we will build a national consensus around a national policy on small scale mining, that promotes a responsible, viable, environmentally sustainable small-scale mining industry, which has discarded the use of mercury, chanfans and excavators, which has barred the involvement of foreign nationals, and which has rejected the destruction of our forests, environment and water bodies” the President told the forum.
The Minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor assured that whatever outcome the forum will, his ministry will employ and all hands on deck approach in implementing the recommendations dispassionately to help sanitize the mining sector.
“We will require a holistic honest national effort anchored on the integrity of action. We will require a candid collaborative and collective action.”
“Whatever sets of measures that will emanate from the deliberations over the next two days, if approved by the government will be implemented diligently,” Mr. Jinapor assured.
Managing Director of AngloGold Ashanti, Eric Asubonteng called for locally centered and sustainable measures to be followed in order to win the fight.
Director Finance, Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners, Francis Opoku on his part urged the need for the enforcement of regulations that ensured that standards are followed by operators in the mining sector.
The two day national dialogue was on the theme: “Sustainable Small Scale Mining for National Development”. Participants to the two day event include mining experts, small scale miners association, Coalition of Civil Society Against illegal mining, traditional rulers, politicians, academia among others.