Mahama outlines strategic vision to transform local mining sector

2024 flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress, John Dramani Mahama says the next NDC government will amend the existing mining laws to grant districts mining offices the authority to issue permits.

The policy, according to him, will have the active involvement of traditional authorities, who together with other stakeholders, shall ensure the sanctity of forest reserves, water bodies and protect cocoa farms and other cash crops.

The former President, who was addressing the 3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale mining’ organised by the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani on Wednesday, 15th May, 2024, said mining proceeds remain key to Ghana’s economic growth but that comes with a bigger cost if the state condones the devastating effect of illegal mining, including galamsey on the environment, health and livelihoods.

“We have witnessed the destruction of the Ankobra and Pra Rivers. We have seen the impact of illegal mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve, home to endangered species and vital to our country’s water supply. We cannot afford to lose these precious natural resources to the greed of a few individuals.

..The tragic consequences of illegal mining in places like Brazil, where the recent collapse of a dam at an illegal mining site resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives is a stark reminder of the dangers of unregulated mining and the need for more vigorous enforcement of mining laws and regulations” he emphasized.

To this effect, the NDC 2024 flagbearer said the next Mahama-led NDC administration will restructure the entire mining sector through recategorization and enhance support systems such as legal, financial support and access to fair markets for small scale mining industries.

Again, the NDC policy proposal on mining shall ensure medium-scale operations are limited to wholly operated Ghanaian companies, that’s without foreign front-runners.

Regulatory institutions such as the Minerals Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Geological Survey Department and Natural Resources Universities shall also be strengthened.
“As part of our broader economic transformation model and a burning commitment to creating more sustainable and decent jobs for the Ghanaian youth, my administration intends to ensure the active involvement of mining engineers and graduates from the University of Mines and Technology and the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, in the small-scale mining sector. These professionals will be attached to the newly created district mining offices and small-scale operators to provide guidance, ensure best practice for sustainability’ he explained.

To build the capacity of locals, a special revolving fund will be established with the private sector to provide capital and a mining equipment pool in each district where gold mining is prevalent.
This shall be complimented by technological innovation to improve capacity for coordinated monitoring of the small-scale mining sector to reduce environmental impact. This will include using AI to locate all legal mining sites, track excavators and to help protect forests and water bodies”

“I have announced the launch of a Ghana Mining Excellence Centre (GMEC), to be run initially for five years and which will be coordinated by UENR and UMaT. The Centre will collaborate with scientists from other universities worldwide to implement joint research and innovation projects that will stimulate green growth within the Ghanaian mining and minerals industry” he assured.

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