Government has directed that, henceforth, no mining concession or licence should be granted to any applicant unless the Paramount Chief of the area is formally consulted to seek his input.
Additionally, the regional ministers and Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MMDCEs) of that particular jurisdiction should also be formally consulted to bring their views to bear on the granting of mining concessions to any individual or company.
Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources announced this at a media briefing in Accra on Thursday, 13 October 2022, to update the public on new measures being implemented by the Government to combat illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as “galamsey”.
In view of the President’s directive, Mr Jinapor has issued a Ministerial Fiat to the Minerals Commission to halt all processes leading to the recommendation for granting of mining concessions and licences until the Commission has sought the inputs of the aforementioned authorities.
The directive, the Minister said, had become very necessary to enable the traditional and local authorities to play a central role in the fight against illegal small-scale mining, which had wreaked havoc on the environment and water bodies.
Mr Jinapor stated that when the President met the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi recently, the chiefs raised concerns about them being neglected regarding the issuance of mining licences and granting of a mining concessions to individuals.
Therefore, whenever there was illegal mining within their traditional areas, they had no power to stop it because they did not play any meaningful and active part in the granting of the licences and concessions.
With the enforcement of the Ministerial Fiat, traditional rulers and MMDCEs would play a central role in the fight against galamsey.
The Minister highlighted gamut of measures implemented by the Government so far to stop the galamsey menace including the procurement of speed boats to patrol rivers, training of river guards, forest reserves declared as “red zones” for mining and distribution of mercury-free gold processing machines (gold kachas) to small-scale miners.
The others are the collaboration between the Lands Ministry and the Attorney-General’s Office to prosecute illegal miners, both Ghanaians and foreigners, rolling out of Community Mining Schemes for local people, recruitment and engagement of about 80,000 people for alternative livelihood programme, frequent operations by the military (Operation Halt) to mining sites to arrest and burn excavators belonging to illegal miners and setting up of 83 district mining committees to oversee mining at the district level.
It has also launched another Operation Halt II campaign being spearheaded by the Military High Commands in the southern, middle belt and northern commands, which would be sustained until galamsey is brought to a satisfactory situation.
The government has, therefore, allocated significant funds and logistics to the new military operation, Mr Jinapor stated.
He, thus, called for collaboration with all stakeholders and change of attitude by all Ghanaians to help in fighting the menace.