THE MINISTRY of Lands and Natural Resources has indicated that its attention has been drawn to a story in a section of the media, where the Member of Parliament for Tamale North, Alhassan Suhuyini, alleges that the ministry spent GH¢10 million on ten (10) conferences and dialogues in the fight against illegal mining, also known as ‘galamsey’.
“The ministry wants to state, categorically, that the said allegation is false and has no factual basis.
“It will be recalled that in his State of the Nation Address, last year, the President of the Republic, H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, called for a national dialogue on illegal mining, which was threatening our water bodies and environment, and directed that the necessary measures be taken to fight this canker,” it reacted in a press statement issued recently.
Pursuant to this directive, the ministry said it organised a two-day national consultative dialogue on small scale mining at the Accra International Conference Centre, on April14 and 15, 2021, which brought together stakeholders from across the country, to agree on a common non-partisan approach to fight this menace. The dialogue resulted in a fifteen-point resolution, including the need to hold similar dialogues in all sixteen (16) regions of the country.
As a way of prudently managing the public purse, the ministry said it adopted a strategy to bring together the regions and hold the dialogues on a zonal basis. Accordingly, two regional dialogues were held in Kumasi for the forest zone and Tamale for the savannah zone.
In addition to the dialogues, the ministry said it undertook a working visit to all the sixteen (16) regions of the country, where it engaged various stakeholders to solicit their support to fight illegal mining.
Among these were the Council of State, the National House of Chiefs, the Regional Houses of Chiefs of all sixteen (16) regions, Regional Ministers of all sixteen (16) regions, the Regional Security Councils of all sixteen (16) regions, and the Ghana Chamber of Mines. The others are the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM), civil society organisations in the mining sector, and miners in the field.
It noted that all the meetings were fully funded by the ministry, including the ones organised by the Regional Security Councils.
The ministry said it also set up a Monitoring and Evaluation Team, together with a Situation Room, to receive reports of illegal mining and act swiftly on them. “And to ensure that those affected by the clamp down on illegal mining are given alternative sources of livelihood, the ministry launched a National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), as part of its strategies to deal with illegal mining.
“The ministry also, in partnership with the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM), introduced a Small Scale Miners Award Scheme, to reward and encourage responsible and environmentally-sound small scale mining,” it mentioned.
The cost of all these, and many other programmes and policies being implemented by the ministry, including the revamping of the Community Mining Schemes, the establishment of Small Scale Mining Committees in the various mining districts of the country, the resourcing the Minerals Commission, and the introduction of the mercury-free gold kacha, form part of the ministry’s expenditure on the fight against illegal mining, it explained.
“At the appropriate time, the state agencies charged with auditing the accounts of the ministry will do their work as mandated by law, and take the appropriate actions if any wrongdoing is detected,” it stated.