During a tour of some illegal mining sites at Kyebi in the East Akim Municipality a few days ago, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, announced the extension of the current moratorium on small scale mining activity up to January 2018.
According to the minister, the extension, which follows a six-month ban on small scale mining, was part of efforts to tackle illegal mining and its negative effects on the environment.
The period of the suspension allows the government to monitor developments in the sector, prior to the implementing the five-year Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP). The MMIP is aimed at ensuring a more sustainable approach in the small scale mining sector.
So far, following cabinet approval, an adhoc committee is in place to engage in some exercises before the MMIP is rolled out.
Amewu expressed confidence that the committee would successfully facilitate the launch of MMIP by February 2018.
“When the ban is lifted, then the MMIP would come into force to ensure a more sustainable approach,” he explained.
Illegal mining has resulted in the degradation of about four percent of Ghana’s total land surface. There has been great concern, among environmentalists, that, if drastic measures are not taken the situation could worsen.
One of the measures the Ministry is considering, as part of the MMIP, is establishing a reclamation fund that will receive contributions from small scale miners and development partners to make available funding for the reclamation exercise, which it has been estimated will cost billions of dollars. Under terms of the MMIP, small scale miners will be obliged to put in place some form of reclamation bond.