George Mireku Duker addressing the media during the working visit
George Mireku Duker addressing the media during the working visit

Collaborate with MMDAs, chiefs to halt quarry site encroachment - Mireku Duker to quarry operators

A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has encouraged licensed quarry operators in the country to collaborate with their respective metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs), as well as traditional authorities, to tackle the menace of encroachment on their concessions.

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The deputy minister, who is responsible for Mines, said effective coordination among the three parties was needed to forestall the illegal activity.

Addressing the media during a working visit to some quarry sites in the Shai Osudoku municipality in the Greater Accra Region yesterday, Mr Duker argued that since the granting of licences for the erection of structures was done by the MMDAs, it was imperative that the companies worked with the MMDAs to ensure that areas designated for quarrying activities were protected and not offered to the public for other activities. 

He noted that through such collaboration, structures and buildings sited at quarry sites without authorisation could be demolished, as they were illegal. 

Visit

 The visit was to apprise the minister, who was accompanied by some officials of the ministry, of the challenges the quarries faced and express the commitment of the government to help resolve them.  

During the visit, a forum was held, during which Mr Duker engaged members of the quarry industry for them to voice out their concerns. 

Encroachment on their concessions and pricing came up as two of the greatest challenges impeding the quarry industry. 

Some of quarry companies were Platinum Seal Quarry, Eastern Seal Quarry, Twin Rock Quarry, Gokay Group and GDS Quarry.

Others were Generex Quarry, Derby Quarry, Uni Africa, HR Minerals and Mines, Massey Stone Quarry, among others.

Mr Duker expressed satisfaction with the companies’ adherence to the law and safety measures. 

He also assured the companies that the government would avail itself to facilitate the smooth operation of their activities

Importance

On encroachment, Mr Duker charged MMDAs to make the protection of quarry sites a priority and precluded from the activities of encroachers, noting that the quarrying sub-sector contributed significantly to the economy. 

He said the quarrying industry also provided raw materials for infrastructure activities in the country and, therefore, deserved some protection.  

He said the government had a responsibility to protect companies whose legitimate activities provided employment opportunities for Ghanaians, and that as long as the ministry was satisfied with the operations of the companies, it would make personnel and resources available to address their issues. 

He also urged the quarry operators to form a recognised body that would canvass support for their interests, such as coming up with a fair pricing mechanism that would cut across the industry and standardise prices. 

Benefits

For his part, the Municipal Chief Executive for Shai Osudoku, Fred Offei Twum, expressed the concern that although there were many quarry mines in the area, the municipality had not enjoyed the full benefits of their activities.

He appealed for solutions to some of the challenges facing the area, such as poor road network. 

He said in spite of major roads in the municipality being given to contractors to work on, progress of work had been extremely slow and appealed to Mr Duker to use his offices to lobby on behalf of the area. 

He also appealed to the deputy minister to use his influence to ensure the quick activation of the Quarry Development Fund for Shai Osudoku, adding that its operationalisation would help spur infrastructural development in the area. 

The deputy minister gave an assurance that the ministry was working on the Quarry Development Fund to ensure that areas where the mines were located benefitted to fuel projects. 

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