The chiefs and community leaders in mining districts in the Western Region have vowed to resist illegal mining activities outside the newly introduced Community Mining Programme (CMP).
They said their promise to keep out illegal mining from the region was their approach to halting the further destruction of the environment.
They said illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey, was not in the interest of the region but in the interest of only a few people.
Speaking after the launch of the CMP in the Ellembelle District, the Chief of Edwakpole, Nana Asafo Akra II, warned: “Any miner who disobeys us and goes into illegal mining outside the CMP concession area will be arrested and punished severely in the traditional way, in addition to what the law has in stock for him or her, to serve as a deterrent to others.”
A large parcel of land at Awiebo has been designated for the Ellembelle CMP.
The CMP is a nationwide enterprise intended to formalise small-scale mining in selected communities across mining regions, with each mining district in the country expected to have at least one community mine.
It is also an initiative to encourage responsible small-scale mining, in line with the Minerals and Mining Act, 2015 (Act 703).
Nana Akra said over the years, people engaged in illegal mining had destroyed the rich green vegetative cover in mining communities across the country and continued to do so even today.
“The youth are advised to desist from entering into galamsey work, since the more illegal mining takes place, the more harm is caused to our water bodies and the environment in general,” he said.
He commended the government for introducing the CMP, adding that traditional rulers were in support and would ensure that it became a success.
“We intend to curb the needless disasters and destruction of the environment, as well as all other negativities associated with illegal mining activities that benefit only a few,” he said.
Strategy for CMP
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, who launched the programme, commended the chiefs and the people of the Western Region for accepting the CMP.
“To ensure the successful implementation of the programme, some key strategies have been infused into the CMP scheme to make it work.
The strategies include the formation of community mining oversight committees, the adoption of the Small-scale Miners Code of Practice and the provision of support services for community miners,” he said.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said the CMP was linked to other sectors of the economy in a way that stimulated wealth creation and improved local economies through value creation, particularly within the local communities.
He said the CMP would ensure community involvement in mining activities, in answer to the legitimate desire by host communities to participate in the mining industry value chain.
The Ellembelle project currently provides 20,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs for the people in the district and adjoining municipalities.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister stressed the need for all stakeholders to ensure that the CMP worked for the benefit of the environment and the country.
“Operations should only take place with the requisite licences and permits from the sector ministry, the Minerals, the Forestry and the Water Resources commissions, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency,” he advised the people, and warned that “miners who will flout the rules will have their licences revoked”.
The District Chief Executive for Ellembelle, Mr Kwesi Bonzo, emphasised the importance of having a formalised system, not only to protect the miners but also ensure a safe environment.
“I can assure you that the community is up for mining in a formalised way, such that it is done in a safe manner and within the laws of the country and for the benefit of all,” he said.
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