Lands and Natural Resources Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor is advocating severe punishment for errant politicians, chiefs and kingpins who engage or promote illegal mining popularly known as galamsey in Ghana.
According to him, dealing with such ‘untouchables’, will go a long way to help the fight against the menace in the country.
Speaking at the opening of a two-day national consultative dialogue on illegal mining in Ghana, the Lands and Natural Resources Minister noted that much more stringent actions must be taken to deal with galamsey.
Asking critical questions for deliberations, Mr Jinapor who is also the Member of Parliament for Damongo quizzed, “How do we name, shame and punish politicians, chiefs, religious leaders and people with money and influence who are promoters of this criminal cartel in this industry?
“What kind of enforcement regime is required which bites and does so without fear or favour?
The national on Small Scale Mining, which ended yesterday, is expected to come out with a communiqué on the solution to the illegal mining menace.
The forum was a two-day roundtable discussion on challenges confronting the small-scale mining sector.
It has had inputs from key mining experts, the Small-Scale Mining Association, the Coalition of Civil Society Against Illegal Small-Scale Mining, among others.
Some stakeholders at the dialogue have proposed the strict enforcement of mining laws as one of the solutions to the many problems in that sector.
Others called for the decentralisation of the issuance of mining lease and licence for small scale miners.
The Lands and Natural Resources Minister had earlier expressed optimism that the consultative dialogue would engender national consensus, devoid of partisan politics in dealing with the illegal small-scale mining menace.
Mr Jinapor said a Committee has been set up with an office to collate all memoranda, proposals and recommendations from individuals and organizations on best strategies and methods to deal with galamsey.
He admitted that even though the consultative dialogue might not be a sufficient platform to resolving the illegal small-scale mining challenge, it will be a good avenue to embracing all shades of ideas in order to adopt a multi-faceted approach in ending the menace.
The recommendations from the consultative forum, he said, would inform the Akufo-Addo-led government’s policy interventions in dealing with galamsey.
The Minister recounted some successes chalked by the Akufo-Addo-led government in its first term towards curbing galamsey such as the training of illegal small-scale miners, introduction of Community Mining Scheme, and Legislative Framework in tackling galamsey.
He entreated Management of the Minerals Commission to decentralise its operations and services like the acquisition of mining licences and permits.