By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA
Accra, Sept. 11, GNA - Mr Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, on Wednesday said government has achieved 85% success rate in the fight against illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as galamsey.
He said there were some recalcitrant individuals including some chiefs and security personnel, who were complicit in illegal mining, hence, the 15% shortfall.
It was in that regard, the Minerals and Mining Law was amended to ensure stiffer punishment for mining offenders- 15 years minimum sentence and 25 years maximum, while the fine ranged between 10,000 and 15,000 penalty units.
Mr Asomah-Cheremeh told the media at a Meet-the-Press Series in Accra.
He said 220 mining guards had been trained and deployed to the mining communities to ensure sanctity of the environment.
He said the World Bank had supported Ghana Government with some funds to implement the Multi-sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) and that the MMIP Documents would be launched in September 17, this month at the University of Ghana.
On Atewa Forest bauxite mining, the Minister said government would undertake sustainable mining in order not to destroy the ecosystem and water bodies in the area, saying, that some Australian experts would support mining of bauxite in the Atewa Forest to prevent any danger to the ecology.
Explaining the contribution of mining to the national economy, Mr Asomah-Cheremeh said it had contributed GH¢1.3 billion in 2019, representing 17 percent of the total revenues collected by the Ghana Revenue Authority, while US$3.3 billion was accrued on export merchandise.
He added that 26,425 jobs had been created in the mining industry this year, specifically by the large-scale mining firms.
He said US$953 million was invested in the mining sector as at June this year, with 2.1 million ounces of gold produced so far.
He added that the Ghana Integrated Aluminium Corporation had interviewed some 20 companies and shortlisted 16, who expressed interests in investing in the bauxite/aluminium value chain in the country.
On the National Cathedral, the Minister said the land designated for the project had been cleared and work would soon begin on the site.