Insurance marketer Edgar Wiredu has lamented the heightening rate of illegal small scale mining in the country, urging the government to ban mining entirely in the country to save the environment.
Wiredu was commenting on the impact of a a two-day bi-partisan Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining, in Accra which begun yesterday at the Accra International Conference Centre on the theme “Sustainable Small-Scale Mining for National Development.”
The Operation Vanguard and the Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining established by the government under Akufo-Addo’s first term to clamp down on illegal small scale mining that was causing havoc to the country’s water resources and lands failed to minimize the activities of illegal miners despite assurances from President Akufo-Addo.
But Edgar Wiredu believes the country can progress without giving mining concessions to expatriates and individuals who do not give government so much to develop the country.
“My position has alsways been the fact that mining in this country must stop…Those lands could be used in a better way that can bring more money than gold. ” he told Morning Update host Eric Ahianyo on TV XYZ.
To him, “We need the lands more than the golds in the soil. Without the lands, without the trees, we are useless as human beings because we cannot exist. Even South Africa has a lot of gold reserves than Ghana. The common sense approach is this, go to all these countries and ask whether they devastate their lands like the way we have done. They mine; they don’t do that to their soil,” he fumed.
“How can we sit in this country and AngloGold Ashanti will work for 22 years or 20 years and give you just 2.2 billion? When in one year alone Cocoa can give you one point something billion and we are wasting the soil,” he added.
According to the Insurance practitioner, the lands for mining can be used to plant more cocoa trees to earn the country foreign exchange than gold is.
“Imagine on the land we are mining on if we had gone to add more cocoa trees what would we have got as a country?”
He said Japan has no single mineral but it has been classified as one of the top five countries in the world whose economies are doing because of putting “common sense to good use” and added he expects Ghana to stop mining and invest in other sectors of the economy to develop the country.