The Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II has intimated that he will sanction any chief within his jurisdiction involved in illegal mining.
The Asantehene presenting a keynote address to commence the Regional Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining said he has already cautioned his chiefs against their involvement in illegal mining.
“I have already warned my chiefs and elders against the participation in such illegalities and I will not hesitate to strongly sanction any such infraction.”Asantehene
The overlord of Asanteman called for the active involvement of traditional authorities in the fight against galamsey, describing them as the custodians of the lands.
“This effort is absolutely imperative for they continue to be custodians of our communities across the country. We should go beyond paying lip service to traditional authorities as custodians of our communal lands and seriously and actively engage them in this collective crusade.”Asantehene
Additionally, he said it will be most prudent to consult traditional authorities before licenses for concessions are given out to miners.
“Does it not make a mockery when the constitution says the President is in charge of the minerals in the earth but when you’re going to mine the mineral, you go through the land that belongs to the chief. So, why doesn’t he have right to know who is doing that?”Asantehene
Mining sector has contributed to the economy
Touting the benefits of the small-scale mining industry, he revealed that the sector has served as a source of employment for a significant number of the youth in mining communities in the country. He further posited the sector’s contribution of over 40% to Ghana’s total gold production.
However, the small-scale mining sector he indicated is faced with challenges given the thin line between it and illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.
He said the challenges which have severely impacted the economic situation in Ghana include degradation of lands and forestry thereby creating significant environmental liabilities.
“Pollution of rivers and water bodies, use of mercury in processing has created public health concerns given its cosmogenic nature. The other challenges are the attacks on security personnel of mining companies as well as the police. Encroachment of the concessions of large-scale mines reducing their mineral reserves.”Asantehene
The overlord of Asanteman then said these activities have over the years posed as safety threat as a result of the illegal possession of arms and explosives in their activities. He then reiterated that galamsey is unsustainable and illegal and called for a halt in such activities.
Ban mining along water bodies
Also, the Asantehene proposed a ban in mining in rivers and along water bodies and also the use of mercury in mining.
“The use of mercury should be banned given its toxicity to human health and the environment.”Asantehene
Moreover, he averred that although mining contributes significantly to the economy, the nation now has to look beyond the contribution of the sector mainly in terms of physical benefits to the economy.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II then indicated that the legal framework for the fight should be focused on the mining sector and not other areas of interest. He further called for the involvement of all stakeholders in the fight and also pledged his support to the course.
The Asantehene lauded the efforts of the Lands Minister and called for support to help him bring to success the fight against galamsey.
“This young man has shown passion and commitment to sanitize this sector and we have to give him the maximum support to ensure he succeeds in this undertaking. I say this because I know he will have opposition even from his own party.”Asantehene