Intervention 1: Blocking out areas for small-scale mining:
Over one hundred (100) areas have been blocked out for small scale mining. Nine of these areas which cover an area of 500 square kilometres are being geologically investigated for alluvial and primary gold deposits countrywide and would later be parceled and licensed to small-scale miners.
Specifically, for the Atiwa area, some areas have been reserved for small scale mining. These areas are located at Anyinam, Akoase and its environs.
Additionally, the Ministry is conducting geological investigation in areas centered on Akoase to identify mineable deposits for small scale miners. Granted mineable deposits are identified, groups of small scale miners or cooperatives will be supported to operate in an environmentally friendly manner.
Intervention 2: Establishment of a National Security Sub-committee on Lands and Natural Resources
Mr Speaker, the Government, at the instance of the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, has established a National Security Sub-committee on Lands and Natural Resources to deal with recalcitrant illegal miners including foreigners. Regional Task Forces have also been formed by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission in the Eastern, Western, Central, Greater Accra and Ashanti Regions to help deal with illegal mining in all forms.
Similarly, District Mining Committees have been formed in mining areas to also assist, among others, the Ministry to deal with the illegal mining activities.
Intervention 3: Sensitisation and Education Programmes
Mr Speaker, the Ministry, in colla- boration with the Minerals Commission, has organised several sensitisation programmes to educate stakeholders including illegal miners on the dangers of this activity. The programmes included:
Meetings with key stakeholders such as Ministr ies, security agencies, the Judiciary, Regional and District Administrations
Organisation of stakeholder workshops in mining communities to sensitise them on the new mining regulations
Radio, TV and Print Media Programmes as well as adver- tisements on bill boards in mining communities
Education of traditional authorities, land owners and farmers to desist from illegally apportioning land for illegal mining, but rather work with regulators to grant mining licences to ensure that the required benefits are derived.
Intervention 4: Amendment to Act
Mr Speaker, wi th r espect to amendments to Act 703, which is currently before you, is expected to make sanctions more deterrent to people engaged in illegal mining activities. The amendments will ensure strict liability for offences committed under Act 703 and prescribe severe penalties for illegal mining or galamsey. The courts will also be empowered to confiscate equipment used in illegal mining activities as well as any minerals produced from such activities.
Way Forward --
Mr Speaker, the Min ist ry wil l cont inue to col laborate wi th the
Minerals Commission and the Municipal/ District Assemblies, National Security, Ghana Police Service and the Judiciary, not only in the Eastern Region but across the country to make illegal mining unattractive in the country.