The government has committed to take proactive steps to regulate the emerging mining industry in the northern part of the country.
The move, according to the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Samuel Abu Jinapor, was to ensure that the gold deposits in the area was sustainably harnessed for national development.
The minister, who is currently on a one-week tour of the northern part of the country, said the Minerals Commission would enforce the mining laws to guard against illegal mining in the northern part of Ghana.
Emerging mining industry
The northern part of the country has lately become buoyant with mining activities, with both small and large scale operations.
Cardinal Resources is currently undertaking preparatory works towards establishing one of the biggest mining operations in Talensi, at the heart of the Upper East Region.
Earl International Gold (GH) Ltd has also obtained the necessary permits to commence large scale underground rock mining in the same region.
Additionally, there has been the commercial discovery of Iron Ore in Sheini, in the Northern Region; significant deposits of gold in Dollar Power, a border town in the Savannah Region.
Characteristic of mining regions across the country, there are some illegal small scale mining activities in Nagroma in the North East Region.
Mr. Jinapor said the government was determined to nip the emerging issues in the bud through enhanced regulation of the sector.
Speaking at a meeting with small-scale miners association in Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region, Mr. Jinapor said given the important role the mining industry in played in national development, proactive steps would be taken to protect the sector from illegal activities that could derail the fortunes.
"The conventional wisdom was that mineral deposits were only found in the south, but as we can see now, there are significant proven resources in the north as well. If we do not begin enhanced regulation at the very beginning, we will lose the opportunity.
"The lessons of the mining industry in southern Ghana ought to guide our actions in the north, and government will not relent to ensure enhanced regulation," he said.
He observed that the minerals needed to be mined in a sustainable manner to ensure that the quality of river-bodies and the integrity of the ecosystem in northern Ghana was not compromised.
The minister stressed that the institutional, legal and operational framework for the sector should be fit for purpose and capable of dealing with all emerging challenges.
He urged persons in the Small-scale mining sector to play according to the rules in that sector.