Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional area in the Upper East Region, Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, says small scale mining will not help in the development of the Region and country.
He said the Talensi land was blessed with gold deposits which must be used to develop the people of the area, Region and the entire country.
“As a Paramount Chief, I have a position, and I have made it clear even at the national level that I don’t support small scale mining. It has never in anywhere in the world helped any country.”
He said the amount of destruction caused as compared to the gold taken out was not equal, “At the end of it all, you destroy more than you think you have gained, and all of us have seen the evidence in River Pra, Offin and the others.”
The Paramount Chief said this when the Upper East Regional Minister, Mr Stephen Yakubu paid a courtesy call on him at his Palace to introduce himself to him, and seek his blessings to lead the Region as Minister.
Naab Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang said the colour of the water in the White Volta had changed to brown and said people mine close to the water bodies and polluted the water with chemicals.
“This means at a point in time, we will not be able to take any good water even in the Volta Lake, and that will be the end of this country. If government is serious with mining, we must encourage deep shaft mining,” he said.
Citing Obuasi in the Ashanti Region as an example, the Paramount Chief, who is also the Member of the Council of State for the Region, said mining companies in Obuasi drilled deep underground, “The trees in Obuasi are still there, nobody has cut them, and farming activities are ongoing.”
He encouraged persons ready for large scale mining to invest in the area so that they could in turn employ persons interested in mining, and entreated small scale miners to look for partners to enable them to acquire license for deep shaft mining.
“That is what will help us, because I have not seen any of the small scale miners employing anybody. But with the large scale companies, we can force them to employ and comply with social responsibilities. Until we do that, we will open our area up for a lot of reckless mining.”
He said there were small scale mining activities in the area, saying “What is even more frightening is the fact that children leave school and go to the mining areas, to make quick money”.
He acknowledged that there was high rate of unemployment, and appealed to companies to invest in the Region.
“I would want to appeal to business persons to come to our Region because it is safe and the people are hospitable and ready to work,” he said.
The Regional Minister on his part, praised the Paramount Chief for his wealth of experience.
He said he would rely on his expertise and wise counsel to achieve his development agenda for the Region, and attract investors to reduce youth unemployment in the area.
He said the Region and the entire country had interest in his traditional area owing to the gold deposits, and expressed confidence that through the leadership of the Tongraan, the people of the Region and country would benefit from the deposits.