The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has charged the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, to take bold step to stem the menace of illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
He said the nation could not wait any longer in ensuring a complete elimination of the canker as that was the surest way to protect the nation’s natural resources and water bodies.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu said this when the minister called on him at the Manhyia Palace last Thursday.
The minister, who was on an official visit to the Ashanti Region, was accompanied by officials from the ministry.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu, who has been a champion of environmental protection, said illegal mining had caused so much devastation to water bodies and the natural vegetation, and should not be allowed to fester.
The Asantehene further observed that there should be sustainable way of mining gold without destroying the environment.
On that score, he said if those involved in the small-scale mining were given adequate training, they should be able to undertake it without causing any havoc to the lands and destroy the water bodies.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu charged the heads of agencies under the ministry to provide the new minister with the necessary information about the challenges facing the sector to enable him to deliver.
He said most of the heads of the various agencies under the ministry were people of vast experience and knowledge in their fields and urged them to provide the minister with the necessary support to help President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo succeed.
The Asantehene said most of the challenges facing the ministry were things that preceded the nomination of the minister but he was expected to resolve them.
The Asantehene said the development of the country hinged largely on the resolutions of the issues confronting the ministry and called on the Minister to ensure that the sector was sanitised to attract the necessary investment into the country.
He cited the issues of illegal mining, illegal logging and land disputes which he said would need to be resolved to attract the necessary investment into those sectors.
He explained that to attract investment into the mining sector, investors should be assured that there would not be any issues with illegal miners and land acquisition in setting up their businesses.
Mr Jinapor said the Ashanti Region was very cricial to the ministry as a good number of the natural resources in the country could be found there.
“This is one of the reasons that guided the selection of the region as my first port of call for my regional tours to acquaint myself with the operations of all the agencies under the ministry,” he said.
He said another reasons for his visit was to learn from the Manhyia Palace, its land management system as it was the only region that had been able to manage its land system with least disputes.
“The Asantehene has provided the leadership in that sector and the ministry will want to learn from his operations,” the minister stated.
The minister later visited the Ashanti Regional Lands Commission and the Forestry Commission where he interacted with the staff and other stakeholders within the sector.