Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor, on Monday, 31st July, joined the United Kingdom’s Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, James Cleverly, to launch a new programme to support the government’s fight against illegal mining.
The programme, dubbed UK-Ghana Gold Mining Programme, seeks to eliminate illegalities associated with the small-scale mining sector by increasing community resilience, promoting regulatory reform and supporting law enforcement. It will be implemented in the Ashanti, Savannah and Western Regions.
At a short ceremony to launch the programme at the Kotoka International Airport, the Minister said the relationship between Ghana and the United Kingdom is historic, and the two countries have been collaborating to execute socioeconomic policies and initiatives that have significant impact and benefit for their respective citizens, and that the gold mining programme is yet another avenue where the two nations will join forces on a worthy cause.
He said the initiative will complement others being implemented by the government to fight illegal mining, including the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), the Community Mining Schemes, and other law enforcement measures.
Mr Jinapor noted that the small-scale mining sector is a strategic sector in the economic development of the country and that the several interventions being made by the government are aimed at purging the sector of its excesses and promoting a sustainable and eco-friendly small-scale mining sector.
“The relationship between Ghana and the UK has been long-standing. The Ghanaian government has taken the issue of illegal mining seriously because apart from the impact o on our economy, its impact on the environment is dire. The government has taken some very bold steps like NALEP, Community Mining Scheme to ensure that we have community miners who adhere to the highest level of operational measures,” he said.
He commended the UK government for the initiative, describing it as a ‘huge impetus’ and a boost to the fight waged by the government against illegal mining. He assured the preparedness of his Ministry to work effectively with the UK team to deliver on the programme.
The UK Secretary of State For Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs commended the government of Ghana for the crackdown on illegal mining, opining that the fight is a bold step by the government to protect Ghanaians from the negative environmental impact of illegal mining.
He said the UK government is proud to associate itself with the battle by the Ghanaian government and will commit resources and personnel to ensure it works.
The new illegal gold-mining programme will see the UK and Ghanaian governments work together to increase community resilience, promote regulatory reform and support law enforcement.
The three-year initiative will see the UK government commit 3.9 million pounds to complement Ghana’s fight against illegal gold mining in the Western, Ashanti and Savannah Regions.
Experts and officials from the UK government will work with a Technical Team at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to ensure the workability and effectiveness of the programme.