Illegal small scale miners living in eight mining communities in the country are mounting pressure on the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amenu together with his two deputies, Mr. Benito Owusu Bio and Mrs. Barbara Oteng Gyasi, to resign.
According to them, the resignations by these government officials would prevent what they said was the “imminent total collapse of mining activities under their watch.”
In their view, Mr. Amewu and his two deputy ministers have, in the past seven months, moved the country’s extractive sector from bad to worse.
The miners noted that since Mr. Amenu and his two deputy ministers took over the leadership of the ministry, all the things they promised to fix when appointed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo have rather worsened, insisting that “nothing was working in the mining sector under the three government appointees.
They also accused the three government appointees of failing to meet the July 19, 2017 deadline of implementing the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) aimed at sanitising the country’s mining sector.
In an interview with Citi FM at the sidelines of the launch of the Governance Index Report, Mr. Bio indicated that it will by 19th July, this year implement the MMIP.
He pointed out that the implementation of the project will improve the mining sector by tackling illegalities, as well as ensure the efficient use of revenue generated from the mining sector for economic development.
But, according to the distraught miners, it is strange that three months down the lane since the ministry of lands and natural resources gave its promise, the MMIP, an alternative livelihood programme for illegal small scale miners, was still not being implemented.
The small scale miners in the Ashanti, Western, Brong Ahafo, Central and Eastern Regions expressed disappointment over the recent announcement made by Mr. Amewu to extend the ban on small-scale mining in order to meet the objectives of the government in its quest to eradicate illegal mining in the country.
According to them, government was being insensitive to the plight of small-scale miners across the country.
Speaking in an interview with Today last week, the miners explained that an extension of the ban on small-scale mining will only worsen the already existing burdens of these affected miners as plans by the association to convince government to lift the ban would have been quashed.
They raised concerns about the effectiveness of government’s intervention in ensuring that illegal small scale mining was curbed in the country.
“If government has been able to achieve 15 per cent of its set target in six months then when will government hit the 80 per cent mark? So does it mean that our licences for operation are going to be irrelevant, is government saying we should run at a lost knowing very well that we have invested a lot of money into the business?
“When the minister tells us that after six months, he has been able to meet 15 per cent of the target set in fighting illegal mining, then it means he doesn’t even know what he is doing,” the Secretary of the Association of Small-Scale Miners in the Ashanti Region, Kwabena Boakye, noted.
He questioned the contribution of the anti-galamsey task force known as “Operation Vanguard” in ensuring that illegal miners became a thing of the past.
“So far what is the total assessment of Operation Vanguard, what is their achievement within their last six months?” he quizzed.
Mr. Boakye disclosed that all the associations of small-scale miners will take a decision on what action to take next in the face of this announcement by the minister.
Minerals & Mining Matters
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