The United Kingdom has pledged £3.9million to fight against Ghana’s illegal mining problems.
The funding support is part of a new three-year initiative launched to complement government’s efforts to curb illegal mining activities, also known as ‘galamsey’, and their concomitant negative impact on the environment – particularly water-bodies.
The programme, dubbed the ‘UK-Ghana Gold Mining Programme’, seeks to eliminate illegalities associated with the small-scale mining sector. Under it, the UK and Ghanaian governments will work together on increasing community resilience, promoting regulatory reforms and supporting law enforcement.
As part of the arrangements, experts and officials from the UK will work with a technical team at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to ensure the programme’s workability and effectiveness.
The UK-Ghana Gold Mining Programme is expected to be implemented in the Ashanti, Savannah and Western Regions of the country.
At a short ceremony at Kotoka International Airport to launch the programme, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor, acknowledged the mutually cordial relationship that exists between Ghana and the United Kingdom.
The Ghanaian government has taken the issue of illegal mining seriously because, apart from the impact on the economy, its impact on the environment is dire. The Government has taken some very bold steps – like NALEP, Community Mining Scheme – to ensure that they have community miners who adhere to the highest level of operational measures.
The two countries, have been collaborating to execute socio-economic policies and initiatives that have significant impacts and benefits for their respective citizens; and the gold mining programme is yet another avenue for collaboration.
This initiative will complement other interventions being implemented by government to fight illegal mining; including the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) and community mining schemes among other law enforcement measures.
The small-scale mining sector is strategic in the country’s economic development. Given this, the several interventions made by government are aimed at purging the sector of its excesses and promoting a sustainable and eco-friendly small-scale mining sector.
The UK Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, James Cleverly, on behalf of the UK government commended ongoing efforts to end illegal mining.
He recognized that it is a bold step by government to protect people of Ghana from pessimistic ecological effects of illegal mining, while at the same time assuring the UK government is satisfied to help the efforts by committing resources and staff to guarantee it works.