The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mines, George Mireku Duker, has commended the chiefs, elders and residents of Asunafo in the Atiwa West District of the Eastern Region for their commitment to the protection of the environment, particularly the Atiwa Forest.
He noted that the government was impressed with the initiatives taken by communities to safeguard the environment.
Inaugurating the Asunafo Community Mining Scheme on behalf of the sector minister, last Thursday, Mr Duker extolled the role of traditional authorities in the setting up of the scheme.
He appealed to them to continue playing their role as custodians of culture and resources and help the government in its quest to maximise revenue and encourage Ghanaian participation in the mining sector.
Mr Duker reminded the gathering that contrary to assertions, President Akufo-Addo still held highly the role of small scale mining in the growth of the country.
He said the government had set out to raise local giants in the mining sector and considered the small-scale mining architecture as the perfect platform to achieve the set objective.
The Deputy Minister indicated that the scheme would operate on an operational manual which dictated the health and safety conditions that must be adhered to at all times.
“President Akufo-Addo is not against mining but all for responsible mining. You’ve done well to protect the forest and we urge you to continue".
“We’ve been briefed that the mining activities here have the blessing of the chiefs and we believe you’ll adhere to the rules and regulations.
We want to follow all the health and safety measures. We have the backing of the law to close down the concession in case of such things.
We’ve developed an operation manual for the concession", he pointed out.
He said South Africa had used gold to develop its cities and it was a vision of the President that we created Ghanaian champions in the industry, stressing that “it’s our target within the next five years that only Ghanaians will participate in community mining.”
Mr Duker added that there would be constant supervision by geologist and personnel from the Minerals Commission as well as capacity building programmes to equip the members of the District Mining Committees with the knowledge and resources to discharge their mandate.
For his part, the Zambian Minister of Mines and Mineral Development, Paul C.C. Kabuswe, who is in the country with his delegation to familiarise themselves with Ghana’s mining regime, said the community mining scheme was a great module worthy of emulation by his country.
He was full of praise for the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for the various interventions employed to restructure Ghana's mining sector.
The Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong, recognised the works of the government in improving the lives of Ghanaians.
He welcomed the scheme in the region and described it as a laudable initiative that would create decent jobs and help improve livelihoods of the people in the area.