The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Lawyer Samuel A. Jinapor has revealed the government is taking proactive measures to ensure it prevents a situation where the Black and White Volta in northern Ghana are polluted by the activities of illegal miners. He hinted these measures include a legal framework and enhanced security system that heavily revolves around the commitment of the Regional Security Council.
This follows the discovery of precious minerals in the Northern and Northeast regions including gold, bauxite, and iron ore.
“The conventional assumption has always been that minerals were only in southern Ghana but it’s turned out that northern Ghana is so rich in natural resources and therefore, our strategy as a government and as a ministry is to put in place the needed regulatory, legal, operational framework at the very outset, to make sure that we take full control of mining activities in northern Ghana so we don’t get to the situation of Southern Ghana, where the activities get illegal they get out of hand before we seek to clawback.”
“Mining activities is such that the movement the citizens of this neighbourhood begin to enjoy the fruits of mining done illegally or legally, people will begin to abandon their traditional core industry and move into this industry and that is what creates the negative ramifications. So the legal institutional operational framework, all matters,” he added.
Lawyer Jinapor who was on a one-day working visit in the Northeast region commended the chairman of the Regional Security Council for flashing out foreign nationals who were engaging in illegal mining at Nanguma, in the Mamprugu Moagduri district while adding that any activity that will destroy the water bodies and forest covers of the region will have a trickling effect on the country’s ecosystem.
“There are laws governing mining in our country. So people participate in the mining industry in our country in a manner that is not in conformity with the laws of our country, they should be dealt with. The earlier we take steps to make sure that the integrity of the ecosystem in northern Ghana is preserved is important,” the lawmaker stressed.
The sector Minister also hinted about the impact of the construction of the Pwalugu Multi-purpose Dam that calls for deliberate safeguarding efforts by all stakeholders.
“The Pawlugu dam is going to be constructed and it has implications for a forest cover. There are wood species that have to be salvaged. And we are told of an elephant root, which has also to be protected.”
Some water bodies including rivers Pra, Tano, and Ofinso have been polluted by activities of illegal miners. The Pra River, the easternmost and the largest of the three principal rivers that drain the area south of the Volta divide. Rising in the Kwahu Plateau near Mpraeso and flowing southward for 240 km through rich cocoa and farming areas and valuable forests in the Akan lowlands, the Pra enters the Gulf of Guinea east of Takoradi. The Basin is one of the Basins in Ghana with a high level of illegal mining activities referred to as “galamsey.”
By: Zubaida Mabuno Ismail | www.zamireports.com | Ghana.