Following the suspension of reconnaissance and prospecting activities in all forest reserves by government on April 22, all mining equipment at any forest reserve should be evacuated from the site by Friday, April 30.
Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, announced this in Tarkwa when he held a meeting with small-scale miners and other key stakeholders in the mining industry.
The Minister appealed to traditional leaders and small-scale miners to help government to develop a mining industry that would be a catalyst for development and economic growth.
He said Illegal mining remained a threat to the Ghanaian economy and called for concerted efforts from stakeholders to get rid of the menace.
The Minister said there was an urgent need for all stakeholders to work together to protect the forest cover and water bodies, which he described as “Red Zones”.
He also stated that the illegal mining menace was a national challenge, which required a national action to fight it.
The NDC Member of Parliament for Wa Central, Mr Rashid Pelpuo said illegal mining was a national threat and “We are supporting the Minister and the government because this is an important national assignment to save our environment”.
The Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Mines and Energy, Mr Samuel Atta-Akyea, also called for a collective effort from Ghanaians to stop the menace.
He pointed out that environmental degradation had no party colour, stressing that there was an urgent need for miners to “mine right to save and protect the environment for future generations”.
Traditional leaders at the meeting lauded government for the bold steps it had taken to curb the illegal mining nationwide.
The traditional leaders in Tarkwa and its surrounding mining communities pledged their commitment to continue supporting government in evicting illegal miners working around water bodies in the area.
They promised to help government reclaim the degraded lands in the area and called for the involvement of Chiefs in the licensing acquisition process to enable them play a pivotal role in ensuring sanity in the sector.
The Small-Scale Miners Association also expressed concerns about lack of minable lands and financial support for their operations, which the Minister and his entourage resolved to tackle urgently.