Lands Minister launches Bongo-Soe community mining scheme
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, has launched a community mining scheme at Bongo-Soe in the Bongo District.
It is the first-ever community in the Upper East Region and the second to be sited in the five regions of the north.
The first community mining scheme was opened at Tinga in the Bole District in the Savanna Region in 2020.
The scheme is being operated by the Bongo-Soe Community Mining Limited which has been granted a licence by the ministry to operate on a 25-acre gold mining concession in the community.
Speaking at the ceremony last Tuesday, Mr Jinapor said historically, geologists had come to the conclusion that it was only the southern part of Ghana that had deposits of mineral resources.
“Today, geological data has proved everyone wrong as it has turned out that the five northern regions have huge deposits of, particularly gold, which could be harnessed to transform northern Ghana”.
The minister noted that the Cardinal Namdini Mining Limited operating in the Talensi District in the Upper East was on course to become one of the biggest mining firms in the country.
“Owing to the discovery of huge deposits of gold in the north, it is, therefore, important to properly organise the exploitation and utilisation of the mineral resources towards the growth and development of the northern regions,” Mr Jinapor said.
Not repeat mistakes
The sector minister re-emphasised the need to avoid the mistakes of the past by mining in a manner that would not degrade the landscape, water bodies and the environment as that would have dire consequences on the local people.
Mr Jinapor called for a paradigm shift towards the construction of a mining industry, particularly, in the Upper East Region, with strict adherence to environmental protection for the ultimate benefit of all.
“I wish to urge the company to do things differently in their operations so as to bring the needed benefit to the people and residents within the operational areas of the mining company,” the minister stressed.
Laid down protocols
Mr Jinapor further entreated management of the mining company to adhere to all the laid down protocols to save lives and protect the environment.
“Abide by the manual developed for community mining schemes and not go through the backdoor to engage in galamsey,” he urged the company.
The minister also cautioned the Bongo-Soe Community Mining Limited not to use its community mining licence to engage in illegal mining.
He also urged the company to undertake concurrent reclamation of land and revegetation in a bid to protect the environment”.
Mr Jinapor further warned the company not to employ foreigners as the community mining scheme was the preserve of Ghanaians, noting if the owners did not comply with the regulations, “I will not hesitate to swiftly revoke the licence and close down the scheme”.
While urging the managers of the scheme to work closely with relevant stakeholders in their operations, Mr Jinapor expressed optimism that the scheme would offer employment opportunities to many youth in the area.
Abundant natural resources
The Upper East Regional Minister, Stephen Yakubu, said the region was endowed with huge deposits of gold which could be tapped to change the fortunes of the region.
He appealed to the ministry to consider launching similar community mining schemes in Talensi, Zebilla and Sumbrungu which were endowed with gold deposits to fast-track the transformation of such areas.
The District Chief Executive of Bongo, Rita Atanga, said the establishment of the mining scheme was a unique opportunity for the youth to get jobs to earn a living, improve their lives and take care of their immediate families.
The Paramount Chief of the Bongo Traditional Area, Naba Salifu Atamale Lemyaarum, who chaired the event, said the discovery of gold in the area would save the people from poverty which had impoverished them for many years.