Government would from next year vet all small-scale miners across the country to regularise and monitor their activities.
The move would ensure that small-scale mining is done in a responsible, environmentally-friendly and sustainable manner.
This was disclosed by the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at the commissioning of the Secretariat for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) at Cantonments in Acccra.
The Secretariat, situated at the Office of the President Annex, would enable the Committee to achieve its long term objective of combating illegal small-scale mining, protecting the environment, and ensuring that mining in the country conforms to international standards, rules and regulations.
The Secretariat would be the nerve centre of anti-galamsey operations, and would serve as a means of executing the President’s agenda to end the degradation of the environment.
‘Operation Vanguard’, which is a flagship exercise by the IMCIM, to curb the degrading activities of galamsey operations, as well as all other interventions, also aims at regulating the artisanal gold mining sector and would be coordinated from that office.
President Akufo-Addo said he was “resolute and immutable” in his commitment to banish the spectre of galamsey “for our own common survival, and the survival of those who are to come.”
He was emphatic that “we would be jeopardising both our present and our future”, if illegal small scale-mining went unchecked.
The President said Government was entering a new era in its efforts to formalize the small scale mining industry, so as to achieve sustainable mining with sound environmental practices.
“In the weeks and months ahead, I expect to see optimal co-ordination amongst participating Ministries and the District Mining Committees, as well as close interaction with Operation Vanguard, small scale miners and the general public.
“I expect the Committee to receive regular reports from mining centres, so that illegal activities can be dealt with immediately,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo stressed that with the office for the Inter-Ministerial Committee in place, “there is going to be constant, close and effective monitoring and reporting of anti-galamsey activities, so that the right thing is done all the time.”
“This new phase will demonstrate our resilience and commitment to ensuring that our water bodies, land and forests, with their biodiversity, are not destroyed, ” he said.
The President urged the Small Scale Miners Association, from the national to the community level, to “help in self-regulation of activities of their members, and also ensure that no one engages in illegal activities, especially mining in our water bodies.”
He also commended the media for the patriotism it had exhibited in the fight against the galamsey menace and urged it to intensify the campaign against illegal small-scale mining because “we must preserve our environment for posterity”.