Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu, EPA Boss

The Government has secured $103 million from the World Bank for the rehabilitation and reclamation of abandoned mined sites and degraded forest areas across the country.

Executive Director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Dr Henry Kwabena Kokofu stated this when he appeared before the Public Accounts Committee of Parliament to respond to queries raised in the 2020 Auditor General’s Report on the EPA.

“So, we are going to employ what we call the three R’s i.e to reclaim, rehabilitate and restore,” adding that they would, however, prioritise the mined sites.

Dr Kokofu also explained that the EPA had devised a strategy to ensure that all small-scale mining companies in operation would be made to post a reclamation bond before their licenses were validated.

He said the challenge that the EPA faced with the non-posting of reclamation bond had been overcome and now the banks were ready to open escrow account for the small-scale mining companies to post the bond.

Dr Kokofu said because in the past no such measures were put in place illegal miners whose activities destroyed water bodies and degraded the environment could not be traced and ‘vanished into thin air’.

“We are trying to correct the wrongs of the past but you do so within the confines of the law and hasting slowly so that you do not add up to the messy situation in the subsector” he added.

Dr Kokofu also announced the EPA’s proposal to create 35 operational district offices across the country to ensure effective monitoring of their operational areas in relation to small-scale mining sites.

He explained that currently the EPA did not have district offices but only Regional and Areas offices within some cluster of districts.

Dr Kokofu said with the limited staff the EPA had challenges monitoring mining sites in the various districts.

He assured that by the first quarter of 2022 the EPA would be able to deploy its staff to the various districts to ensure effective monitoring of the mining sites.