The Ghana Chamber of Mines (GCM) has presented a cheque for GH¢778,657 to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to support the government's Green Ghana project meant to restore the natural vegetation.
Green Ghana is an initiative launched by the ministry to plant more trees as part of measures to restore forests and the natural vegetation that had been lost to illegal mining and other human activities.
As part of the initiative, the ministry mobilised key stakeholders to plant more than five million trees.
Currently, the ministry has targeted to plant 20 million trees next year.
The President of the GCM, Mr Eric Asubonteng, presented a dummy cheque for the amount to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, at the inauguration of a joint technical committee on mining last Monday.
The committee was set up to address the challenges in the mining industry and to boost the fortunes of the sector.
The committee — which has its members drawn from the sector ministry, the GCM and the Minerals Commission — is expected to oversee the adoption and the implementation of policies and programmes that would bring mutual benefit to the state and mining companies.
Among other things, the committee will advise the ministry and the GCM on mining related issues that border on the state interest and the profitability of industry players.
The minister inaugurated six of the core members of the committee, urging them to work to address the challenges confronting the mining industry and facilitate the government's agenda of making the country a mining hub.
The committee is chaired by a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr George Mireku Duker.
The other members are the Advisor on Mines to the minister, Mr Benjamin Ayee; the Chief Executive Officers of the Minerals Commission, Mr Martin Ayisi, and the GCM, Mr Sulemanu Koney.
The rest are a member of the Legislative and Lagal Affairs Committee of the GCM, Mrs Juliet Manteaw Kutin, and a member of the Finance and Budget Committee of the GCM, Mr Edwin Aquaye.
A member of staff of the ministry is expected to provide administrative and secretarial services to the committee.
The committee also has the opportunity to co-opt technical staff from all sides to help to deliver on its mandate.
Highlighting the terms of reference of the committee, Mr Jinapor explained that the members had been tasked to look at issues of mutual concern to the government and the GCM, including the purchase of gold by the Bank of Ghana; facilitate the proper functioning of an in-country refinery and address local content issues.
He said the committee was also required to adopt strategic measures to make Ghana a hub for mining support services; improve infrastructure development in mining communities, and promote the business operating environment of mining companies, while superintending over the community mining scheme rolled out by the government and also help to address the challenges posed by illegal mining.
Mr Jinapor observed that given the critical role the ministry and the GCM played in the mining industry, it was important to strengthen collaboration to develop a robust mining sector.
"For us at the Lands and Natural Resources Ministry, our duty is to make mining flourish, and it is natural that we collaborate with the GCM so that we can get the best of our mineral resources," he said.
Mr Asubonteng said the GCM would continue to support the government to roll out initiatives that would ensure the restoration of the depleted lands and forests.
"The support today will not only be a flash in the pan. We will continue to support the government's agenda to protect the environment because the government's vision is not different from what the GCM seeks to achieve," he said.