Move to curtail illegal mining
By Bernice Bessey
In a bid to curtail illegal mining, popularly called ‘galamsey’ in Ghana, the Ministry of Land and Natural Resources has handed over five 4×4 pick-up trucks to regional taskforces to check the activities of these illegal miners in the country.
The beneficiary regional taskforces are Greater Accra, Central, Eastern, Western, Ashanti and Brong Ahafo.
They are also expected to check illegal mining operators by ensuring that they (galamsey miners) are educated on the right procedure and processes of acquiring mineral rights and its associated permits through the Mineral Commission and the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
Speaking at the handing-over ceremony in Accra, the Deputy Minister of Land and Natural Resources, Mr. Kwadwo Owusu Agyeman, charged the taskforces to use the trucks to stop illegal mining activities and arrest offenders for prosecution. He urged the taskforces to ensure that operators work only within their legal licensed concessions.
According to him, the taskforces were formed to ensure that illegal miners in the mining sector operate within the legal framework and observe standards in order to protect the environment.
“In forming these taskforces, the inspectorate division of the Minerals Commission was acting on the powers conferred on it by the Mineral Commission Act 703, 2006, and with the backing of National Security Sub-committee on Lands and Natural Resources,” he added.
“It is worth stating that the formation of the task forces was necessitated, by the empirical observation of unwarranted rampant and haphazard illegal mining activities throughout the country,” he indicated.
The Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Toni Aubynn pledged support to the taskforces, believing that it would bring some order to the mining sector.
He stated that research had shown that less than 30 per cent of miners are operating legally, saying “this means something is wrong with our structures or the laws guiding mining.”
Dr. Aubynn added that the chamber would support individuals and group who would mine legally, “it doesn’t matter which country they are coming from”.
A representative of Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Mr. Simpson Labala said government was worried about the trend and had weaned galamsey operators off their dangerous trade by introducing alternative livelihood schemes in all mining communities, yet the illegal mining activities persisted.
Stanbic gives towards National Farmers’ Day
Stanbic Bank Ghana has presented a vehicle valued at $30, 000 to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture as one of the awards for this year’s National Farmers’ Day to be held at Abokobi in the Greater Accra Region.
The donation of the double cabin Hardbody Nissan vehicle is the sixth consecutive time that the Bank is supporting the annual national event which rewards farmers and fishers for their contribution to the development of the nation.
Presenting the vehicle to the Minister of Food and Agriculture and the National Best Farmers’ Award Planning Committee in Accra, the Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank, Alhassan Andani said the donation was in appreciation of the great work done by Ghanaian farmers.
“This donation is a token of our support for the agric sector and a demonstration of our commitment to develop and finance agriculture in Ghana. As a member of the Standard Bank Group, the leading agricultural bank in Africa, we believe that through innovative agricultural initiatives and product offerings, agriculture in Africa will be transformed,” he said.
Stanbic Bank Ghana has been a keen sponsor of the National Farmers’ Day celebrations since 2007.
This year, besides the sponsorship of the awards, the Bank has launched a tree planting initiative to encourage its customers to grow coconut and mango trees in their houses or localities.
To this end, one hundred customers to visit any Stanbic branch across the nation during the week of the Farmers’ day celebration will have the opportunity of picking a coconut or mango seedling to plant at a place of their choice.
Whereas customers in the southern part of Ghana will receive coconut seedlings, branches in the three northern regions will stock the mango seedlings for customers.
Announcing this in Accra, Head Marketing and Communication at Stanbic, Mawuko Afadzinu said the initiative was part of activities to commemorate the Standard Bank Group’s 150th anniversary.
“For 150 years we have been improving lives with our activities, products and services. On this occasion as we mark the day, we present to our customers the unique opportunity to improve their environment by growing these coconuts and mangos. It is our little contribution to building a sustainable environment,” he said.
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