President Akufo-Addo has urged the residents of Tarkwa to turn a blind eye to claims making the rounds suggesting that his government intends to abolish mining. The President, labelling such claims as propaganda, stressed that the only form of mining he personally is against is illegal mining, also known as ‘galamsey’.
He made this known yesterday [Tuesday] when he interacted with the Chiefs and people of Tarkwa on the second day of his 3-day tour of the Western Region.
President Akufo-Addo also stated that as far back as the 15th century, there was the recognition that mining was important for the country’s economy with the christening of Ghana’s first modern city as Elmina, meaning ‘The Mine’, by the Portuguese.
“Mining is part of our heritage. It is not under an Akufo-Addo government that mining is going to be abolished. I can never abolish mining. Those saying I am trying to abolish mining are just doing propaganda. Mining is an integral part of our country’s heritage,” he said.
President Akufo-Addo however indicated that what his government cannot have happen is the compromise of the country’s environment by the activities of illegal mining.
“Our lands, water bodies and forests are also part of our heritage. I swore an oath before the Almighty and before Ghanaians to govern in accordance with the rule of law, and also to protect the territorial integrity of our nation. I am mandated by the laws of the land to protect our lands and water bodies,” he said.
“Mining in Ghana, from the times of our ancestors, has been undertaken without the destruction of our water bodies and lands. The Birim and Densu Rivers we used to drink from as children have now been polluted as a result of ‘galamsey’. I, as President of the Republic, will not watch unconcerned whilst a few people destroy our lands and water bodies,” he added.
Measures have been put in place – Prez
Meanwhile, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo stressed that the laws of Ghana indicate that citizens and not foreigners are the only ones allowed to engage in small scale mining and has therefore urged Ghanaians not to act as front-men for foreigners in activities solely reserved for Ghanaians.
“Let us abide by our laws,” he charged.
To this end, President has outlined his government’s proposal to strengthening the small scale mining industry through the Multilateral Integrated Mining Project (MMIP).
The MMIP, according to President Akufo-Addo, will be the first holistic approach in combating illegal mining in Ghana, reduce illegal small scale mining (galamsey) to the barest minimum and find alternative livelihoods for those involved.
President Akufo-Addo also took the opportunity announce that his government has received a number of proposals for the establishment of a gold refinery at Tarkwa, adding that “if I was against mining, I would not be putting such measures in place.”
President Akufo-Addo also assured residents of Tarkwa about government’s determination to revive the Bonsa Tyre Factory and the Aboso Glass Factory so as to create jobs and wealth for the people.
Story by: Akosua Ofewaa Opoku