Mr Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, Minister Designate for Lands and Natural Resources on Wednesday said regulating every aspect of small scale mining operations is the only way that sector can be sanitized.
“Mr. Chairman, I respectfully hold the considered view that the only route to sanitizing the small scale mining sector is to regulate every aspect of their operations,” said in Accra, when he appeared before the Appointments Committee of Parliament.
He added: “Community Mining as a mining scheme can help us attain the goal of viable, sustainable and regulated small scale mining industry in Ghana.”
The 26-member committee, chaired by First Deputy Speaker of Parliament, currently Mr Joseph Osei Owusu, derives its power from the 1992 Constitution of Ghana and the Standing Orders of Parliament, to vet nominees to public office, and recommend or otherwise their approval to the plenary of the House.
The nominee, 37, a medical physicist and lawyer, was until his nomination was the Deputy Chief of Staff at the Presidency in the first term of the Akufo-Addo Government.
As debutant Member of Parliament, Mr Jinapor won the Damongo Constituency seat in Ghana’s 2020 parliamentary election.
When he appeared before the Committee, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister-Designate asserted that his objective was to work to achieve the President’s goal of ensuring a viable, sustainable and regulated small scale mining sector in Ghana.
He said it was necessary to put together the framework to promote large scale mining as well as enhance investment in exploration in Ghana as he indicated that Ghanaian indigenous participation in large scale mining was a major priority for him.
Mr Jinapor said he was committed to working with all stakeholders with the view of achieving the overarching vision of the President to build a viable, sustainable and booming mining industry to the benefit of Ghanaians.
On regulation and enforcement of the well thought out and comprehensive legal regime on small scale mining in Ghana, he insisted that his policy on small scale mining would be “regulation, regulation and regulation.“
“ A regulated, sustainable, and robust small scale mining which has regard for the protection of the environment and water bodies in our country will be my overarching objective,” the Minister Designate said.
He intended to work with all stakeholders with the ultimate goal of attaining the noble vision of the efficient and sustainable management and utilization of the lands and natural resources of Ghana.
With an assurance to serve with humility, and in honesty, integrity and courage, Mr Jinaopr called for a national debate on the structure of the structure of Ghana’s mining industry.
Currently, Ghana has a two- tier mining structure-small scale and large scale- whereas other countries have a three- tier mining structure.
The Minister Designate asked for a discussion as to whether or not it would be useful to have a medium scale sector, which would permit foreigners to participate if they invested a certain minimum capital.
Citing example from Ethiopia, Mr Jinapor said, if approved, he would push for out a well thought out afforestation programme, which would see massive forest cover by planting millions of trees a year.
He said the remarkable intervention of Ethiopia in afforestation, where the President of that country every year led a tree planting exercise, could be emulated by Ghana, with leaders in the arms Government, and traditional leaders taking central roles in the exercise.
He named such a project as the Green Ghana Project.
Mr Jinapor promised to prioritise the digitization of the records of the Lands Commission and a vigorous implementation of the new Lands Act, 2020 (Act 1036), as he explained that the effective implementation of the two interventions would help in reforming the lands sector.
Meanwhile, the Ghana News Agency (GNA) has learned that the Committee, which is expected to finish vetting of the nominees by March 2021, would deliberate and take decisions on all the nominees sometime next week.