The Overlord of Ashanti, Otumfuor Osei Tutu ll has said that he will not hesitate to sanction any of his sub-chiefs who engage in illegal mining, also known as “Galamsey”.
He made the promise on Wednesday at the Regional Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining, saying that the fight against illegal mining requires that all persons who are culpable are sanctioned, irrespective of status.
“On my part, I have already warned my Chiefs and elders against participation in such illegalities and I will not hesitate to strongly sanction any such infraction. Already I have had reports on some things happening at Amanse, the Fomena area and I will be investigating that to see what is happening,” he said.
In the same breath, Otumfuor said district Chief Executives should be held responsible for galamsey going on in their areas of jurisdiction since such occurrence means that they have failed in their duty to ensure that mining is done according to the national mining framework.
He called for a special fund to address exploration activities along the gold belts of the country to check encroachment by illegal miners and better define mineral resorts and identify new sites for mining.
“The Minerals Commission in conjunction with the Geological Survey Authority should identify and bring fence land banks within the mining districts of the country exclusively for small-scale mining purposes. This should hopefully reduce the current competition between large scale and small scale miners for mineralize real estate,” he said.
“The capacity of the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency should be urgently enhanced and adequate resources provided to enable them effectively regularize and regulate activities of small scale miners to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements as well as responsible mining practices.”
Otumfuor added that “In accordance with the Minamata Convention to which Ghana is a signatory, the use of mercury for gold processing should be banned. This should then be replaced with training and capacity building for small scale miners on less dangerous means for gold recovery.”