Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr

Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr

There is the need to encourage local illegal miners to venture into small scale mining under a more legalized system to help do away with the many destruction currently going on.

Professor Akilagkpa Sawyerr, Chairman of Government Mining Review and Negotiation Team said has, therefore, charged Civil Society groups interested in natural resources management to partner government to make small scale mining a viable option for Ghanaian illegal miners.

Professor Sawyerr was speaking at the Fourth Annual Civil Society Review of the natural resources and environment sector in Ghana on Tuesda.

He said civil society and all stakeholders should support government to develop proper mining policy as part of a general national development plan that would help finance and train local illegal miners to push them into small scale mining.

?Government should be compelled to locate the mining policy in a broad national development plan? we should work out the cost in mining economically and environmentally and make the choices as to whether to go into mining or not,? he said.

The annual review meeting was an initiative of KASA Ghana, a civil society support mechanism that aims to promote evidence-based research and advocacy in the natural resource and environment sector.

The three-day meeting, therefore, serves as a platform for policy review and coordinated engagements in the natural resources sector.

Prof. Sawyerr said Ghana in the past had not done ?enough in our negotiations concerning our natural resources,? adding ?we are now doing something slowly to correct the situation?.

Mr Zakaria Yakubu, KASA Co-ordinator, explained that the platform would  serve as information sharing and learning for stakeholders and to review status and progress in the Natural Resource and Environmental (NRE) Governance.

The over 100 representatives of state and non-state actors are also to examine the prospective of civil society on natural resources sector, analyse key achievements, gaps, challenges and recommendations for priority actions.

Mr Richard Ellimah, member of the National Coalition on Mining, said apart from the Chinese, many foreign nationals such as Americans and Spanish were all into the illegal mining against the mining laws.

He urged the state to make deliberate efforts to ensure that many Ghanaians are into small scale mining.

He emphasized the need to design mining policy to enforce the mining laws as well as polluter- pays policy that would oblige a company to pay for polluting the environment.

Alhaji Inusah Fuesni, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, in a speech read for him by his Deputy, Ms Barbara Serwaa Asamoah, said key challenges confronting the sector was effective law enforcement and policy implementation at all levels to combat the menace of land degradation, illegal chainsaw operations and illegal mining activities.

He asked civil society to continue to dialogue with government to ensure sustainable development and management of Ghana?s natural resources.

?Let me assure civil society that government values your participation and input in the natural resources and environment sector.

?Indeed we expect civil society, organised labour and the media to hold government accountable to its commitment and also contribute innovative ideas and practical solutions for addressing the challenges confronting the NRE sector,? the Minister said.

Source: GNA

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