President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has stressed that the laws of Ghana indicate that citizens and not foreigners are the only ones allowed to engage in small scale mining.
President Akufo-Addo has, therefore, urged Ghanaians not to act as front-men for foreigners in activities solely reserved for Ghanaians, adding that “let us abide by our laws.”
To this end, President has outlined his government’s proposal to strengthening the small scale mining industry through the Multilateral Integrated Mining Project (MMIP).
The MMIP, according to President Akufo-Addo, will be the first holistic approach in combating illegal mining in Ghana, reduce illegal small scale mining (galamsey) to the barest minimum and find alternative livelihoods for those involved.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Tuesday, on day 2 of his 3-day tour of the Western Region, when he interacted with the Chiefs and people of Tarkwa.
With Tarkwa being a predominantly mining town, President Akufo-Addo urged residents to ignore the propaganda making the rounds that he intends abolishing mining, stressing that the only form of mining he is against is illegal mining, also known as galamsey.
With the christening of Ghana’s first modern city as Elmina, to wit ‘The Mine’ by the Portuguese, President Akufo-Addo stated that as far back as the 15th century, there was the recognition that mining was important for the country’s economy.
“Mining is part of our heritage. It is not under an Akufo-Addo government that mining is going to be abolished. I can never abolish mining. Those saying I am trying to abolish mining are just doing propaganda. Mining is an integral part of our country’s heritage,” he said.
What his government cannot have happen, however, is for illegal mining to compromise the country’s environment.
“Our lands, water bodies and forests are also part of our heritage. I swore an oath before the Almighty and before Ghanaians to govern in accordance with the rule of law, and also to protect the territorial integrity of our nation. I am mandated by the laws of the land to protect our lands and water bodies,” he said.
The President continued, “Mining in Ghana, from the times of our ancestors, have been undertaken without it destroying our water bodies and lands. The Birim, Densu, rivers we used to drink from as children, have now been polluted as a result of galamsey. I, as President of the Republic, will not watch unconcerned whilst a few people destroy our lands and water bodies”.
President Akufo-Addo announced that his government has received a number of proposals for the establishment of a gold refinery at Tarkwa, adding that “if I was against mining, I would not be putting such measures in place.”
President Akufo-Addo also assured residents of Tarkwa about government’s determination to revive the Bonsa Tyre Factory and the Aboso Glass Factory, so as to create jobs and wealth for the people.