The Lands and Natural Resources Ministry has advised political parties to channel their energies into making the nation better where the rule of law thrives, instead of sacrificing civilised conduct for populism.
This was in a statement issued by Professor Patrick Agbesinyale, the Acting Chief Director of the Ministry, on behalf of John Peter Amewu, the Sector Minister on Friday in response to a comment made by former President John Mahama which, according to the statement, could incite small-scale miners to resort to lawlessness.
The former President, whilst addressing supporters of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) after a Unity Walk in Kumasi last Saturday, was reported to have said that the Akufo-Addo-led Government’s use of “shoot-to-kill” approach in the fight against galamsey was counterproductive.
It, therefore, described the former President’s comments as distasteful.
The statement said unlike the previous government that failed to resolve the debilitating effects of illegal mining in the country, the current Administration had well-thought-out plan to deal with the massive destruction caused to the natural vegetation, land and river bodies, through the activities of illegal miners.
It said the Ministry had developed comprehensive policy document known as the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP), which would serve as a vehicle to deal effectively and holistically with the menace.
The MMIP, which would be launched in few a days’ time by President Akufo-Addo, contains five key broad components; revision and enforcement of the legal and regulatory regime for artisanal small-scale mining, reclamation of degraded lands, dredging of silted estuaries and waterways and fresh lands for agribusiness.
The rest is an implementation of social interventions to facilitate sustainable livelihoods in mining communities, adoption of technology to ensure efficient mining, processing and environmental monitoring activities and capacity building for miners, regulatory institutions and effective project management.
The statement said even before the implementation of the MMIP, the Ministry had undertaken a number of activities in the quest to control illegal mining.
These include project appraisal and project implementation plans, vetting of small-scale miners’ licences to determine the scope of their mining concessions and whether their licences are genuine, as well as the implementation of alternative livelihood programme resulting in the distribution of over one million palm seedlings to farmers for plantation.
“We urge all small-scale miners that our message to them remains the same. Thus, working together to sanitise the small-scale mining industry such that their operations will be sustainable and more profitable,” the statement said.