National consensus must promote responsible, viable small-scale mining – Akufo-Addo
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“Out of this maiden consultative dialogue, I hope we’ll build a national consensus around a national policy on small scale mining, that promotes a responsible, viable, environmentally sustainable small-scale mining industry, which has discarded the utilization of mercury, chanfans and excavators, which has barred the involvement of foreign nationals, and which has rejected the destruction of our forests, environment and water bodies.”
These were the words of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Wednesday, 14th April 2021, at the Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining, organized by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.
Speaking at the Forum, President Akufo-Addo noted that certain occurrences, especially within the run-up to the election of 7th December last, inspired his insistence on the entire nation having a national conversation on galamsey.
According to President Akufo-Addo, it’s time the Ghanaian people acknowledged that “Ghana isn’t made from only the humans, but is additionally made from the soil, the mountains and valleys, the forests, the rivers, the lakes, the seas, and therefore the plant and animal life also . Without them, we, humans, cannot, and can not, survive; then they also need nurturing.”
Whilst stressing that there’s nothing wrong with mining, or trying to take advantage of the minerals the state has been with, he explained that mining becomes problematic and dangerous, when methods employed pose a danger to the land, the water bodies, and therefore the very lives of the people.
“Mining becomes a danger to the society when, after extracting the gold, diamond, or other stones and minerals, the land is left degraded and poisoned with toxic materials, the water bodies are became entities which will not support life, and plants and fish cannot survive in our rivers,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo continued, “We have had beautiful and majestic rivers and streams. Today, there’s not much to celebrate about the Pra or the Birim, and there’s not much to be excited about over our famed thick forests and therefore the animals that inhabit them. Unacceptable mining and logging practices have laid them to waste.”
The holding of the national conversation on galamsey, he explained, is crucial because “we cannot have one a part of the political divide campaigning for galamsey within the bush, and therefore the other waging a politician fight against galamsey within the open.”
The President noted that “we don’t need foreigners to campaign for the protection of Ghanaian land, our inheritance. We don’t need interest groups to campaign for the protection of Ghanaian soil, flora and fauna. it’s the land of our birth, it’s the land we inhabit, it’s the land that supports our lives and livelihoods, it’s the land we named Ghana at independence sixty-four (64) years ago, and we, the Ghanaian people, must be its best protectors.”
He, thus, appealed for the deliberations at the 2-day consultative dialogue to be barren of partisanship or narrow parochial interests, adding that “we should be ready to build a broad-based national consensus round the necessity to kill the menace of illegal small-scale mining, and therefore the got to support and grow responsible small-scale mining.”
“I am determined to enforce the laws on illegal mining regardless of the topic , high or low. I will, however, not act on the idea of hearsay or mere allegations without more. i will be able to not hesitate to act, though, where the evidence is tough before the Police, and that i will do so regardless of the standing of the person or persons involved. that’s truth meaning of equality before the law,” President Akufo-Addo added.