Pres. Mahama sets up inter-Ministerial taskforce on illegal mining

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President Mahama addressing the Ministers

President Mahama addressing the Ministers

President John Mahama today inaugurated an inter-Ministerial taskforce to curb the activities of illegal miners across the country.

Below is his speech at the inaugration

 

INAUGURAL REMARKS BY PRESIDENT JOHN MAHAMA- INAUGURATION OF
INTER- MINISTERIAL TASKFORCE ON ILLEGAL MINING

[Main Auditorium of the Flagstaff House- Tuesday, May 14, 2013]

I welcome you, honourable Ministers of State to this short but important event.
As you know, I have had occasion to speak publicly about the dangers ‘galamsey’
is posing to our nation in terms of forests being degraded, farmlands being
destroyed, water bodies being polluted and the resultant health implications for
the people.
In the very recent past, we have all witnessed the devastation galamsey has
caused to some of our water bodies and its effect on the production and supply
of water to various communities.
There has also been casualties and loss of lives arising from conflicts in some
areas where illegal small-scale mining is taking place. Other negative
consequences of this activity include the lawless and criminal behavior exhibited
by Ghanaians and some non-Ghanaians involved in the illegal act.
We do clearly have a problem, and as government we have been working to
prevent it from generating into a crisis. But it is clear that we need to strengthen,
broaden and coordinate better our efforts in tackling the challenge of illegal
mining.
In constituting this Inter-Ministerial Taskforce on illegal small-scale mining, I am
sending a clear signal to the offending individuals and groupings that government
will not allow their activities to cause conflict, dislocation, environmental
degradation, and unemployment, when in fact; the sector should benefit our
communities and help develop Ghana.
The Taskforce will be chaired by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources,
and will include the Ministers for the Interior, Defence, Foreign Affairs and
Regional Integration as well as Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation.
Your task is simple and straightforward.
To actualize my determination to bring sanity into the mining sector, including
my pledge to ensure that the small-scale mining sector is reserved for Ghanaians.
You are been put together to work and coordinate the various efforts because
the activities of illegal small-scale miners breed consequences that are
multifaceted, and largely fall under your sector ministries.
Remember that Government is not against small-scale mining, what we want is
for those who are engaged in small-scale mining to follow the required
procedures that govern mining in our country.
Your mandate is to ensure that our laws in the Small Scale mining sub sector are
fully enforced.
§ Seize all equipment used by those who fail to comply with the new
directives of obtaining licenses or renewing their licenses.
§ Arrest and prosecute anybody, both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians,
involved in small-scale illegal mining.
§ Deport all non-Ghanaians involved in small-scale mining.
§ Revoke the licenses of Ghanaians who have sub-leased their
concessions to non-Ghanaians against the rules.
§ Revoke the licenses of Ghanaians who have engaged the services of
non-Ghanaian miners in the small-scale mining sector in ways that are
contrary to the rules.
§ Hold MMDCEs and their respective DISECs accountable for any illegal
mining activity in their areas of jurisdiction.
Let me be clear that, while I am very hopeful that the work of this Taskforce will
produce the desired results, my Government is exploring a holistic approach that
would tackle both the immediate and remote factors promoting illegal mining in
our nation.
There is no doubt that the introduction of heavy equipment has compounded the
destructive nature of small-scale mining.
While traditional mining with pick, shovel and panning may have caused harm,
such harm was on a small scale.
The question then is, how do these heavy equipment get to the sites; who
imports them, who sells them, and who transports them to the various sites. It is my expectation that the police will confiscate or disable any mechanical
equipment: bulldozers, diggers, conveyor belts and water pressure systems not
licensed by the appropriate authorities.
There is no doubt that small-scale mining can help alleviate poverty and can
create jobs. With this in mind it should be possible to support small-scale
sustainable mining.
To ensure that the people truly benefit from the wealth in their lands, we will
promote licensed village cooperatives ahead of companies. A percentage of the
purchase price would be paid to the cooperative at monthly intervals, for
infrastructure improvements. This would provide regular income and will be in
line with our long-standing belief that as a responsible government, we are also
responsible for the common welfare of the people.
Eventually, however, such an arrangement will eliminate the use of heavy
equipment and its deployment in the small-scale mining sector.
Another area we are exploring in terms of dealing a deadly blow to illegal mining
and its attendant negative effects is in the area of the output; purchase and
export.
Currently, the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Limited and other privately
owned companies, which have been licensed by the Minerals Commission to
export independently, do this.
Most of these independent companies are owned by Non-Ghanaians.
The problem here is that gold exported by some of the independent exporters
are froth with all kinds of negative practices, sometimes the source of their gold
can not be authenticated, as opposed to exports done through the PMMC
Limited.
Comparatively, exports through PMMC Limited can be tracked, monitored and
the proceeds traced through banks. Independent exporters cannot say this for
exports.
The truth is that the operations of independent exporters are shrouded in secrecy
and in most cases the proceeds are not brought through the banking system. Not only does this result in the nation losing much needed revenue but it is a system
used for money laundering and the promotion of capital flight.
I strongly urge you to co-opt all the necessary expertise that would assist it deliver
on a coordinated Action Plan for dealing with a small but multi-faceted problem.
I expect you to report on progress on a monthly basis to the Chief of Staff.
Your mandate starts now.

Thank You.

 

www.233times.com News Desk

ABOUT: Nana Kwesi Coomson

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A Freelance Journalist, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist. Editor-in-Chief of www.233times.com. A contributory writer for Ghanaian Chronicle Newspaper. An alumnus of Adisadel College where he read General Arts. He holds first degree in Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ghana; Political Science (major) and History (minor). He has also pursued MSc Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Energy with Public Relations (PR) at the Robert Gordon University in the United Kingdom. He is a 2018 Mandela Washington Fellow (YALI) who studied at Clark Atlanta University on the Business and Entrepreneurship track. His mentors are Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffet, Sam Jonah, Kwaku Sakyi Addo and Piers Morgan

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