Ghana to crack down on foreigners engaged in illegal mining

Source:Xinhua Published: 2013-2-14 8:50:59

A minister-designate for the Ashanti Region in Ghana Samuel Sarpong on Wednesday pledged to crack down on foreigners engaged in illegal mining activities.

Sarpong told the Parliamentary Committee that small-scale mining was the preserve of the local people and existing laws restrained foreign miners from carrying out the activity.

"When I am given the nod as a regional minister, I will see to it that these directives are complied with," he said.

"Apart from that, I will make sure that for any company to undertake any mining activity within the region, it should be made to pass through the appropriate channel," he said.

Sarpong is a former director of the Bureau of National Investigations (BNI) in Kumasi, Ghana's second commercial city.

He promised to hold talks with small-scale miners and mineral companies to develop mechanisms to reclaim land lying desolate as a proactive step to dodge any negative impact on the environment.

Ghana comes next to South Africa in Africa in terms of gold deposits and also possesses good amounts of bauxite, diamonds and manganese.

Besides, it has a sizeable deposit of iron ore, limestone, kaolin, granite, salt and feldspar that are yet to be fully exploited.

The favorable investment climate in Ghana has attracted more local and foreign companies into mineral exploration and mining activities.

However, there is growing discontent over the influx of large- scale miners in what has historically been the preserve of Ghanaian small-scale miners.

According to Ghanaian laws, foreign companies are only allowed to work independently on large and open-pit mines.

The small-scale mining sector has been characterized by serious challenges such as human casualties, indiscriminate destruction of the environment, particularly farmlands and food crops, and flagrant pollution of water bodies.

Posted in: Africa

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