The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, has said that the government is set to launch a National Alternative Livelihood Programme for illegal miners in the country.
Mr Jinapor said the programme, when launched, will provide a good option for miners to work and support themselves and their families.
He disclosed this during a meeting with the Western North Regional House of Chiefs on Wednesday, 22 September 2021 on the sidelines of his one-day tour of the region.
The Minister used the platform to ask for the support and collaboration of chiefs, as he said they are co-partners in the administration of Ghana's lands and its resources.
"There must be a strong collaboration between the Ministry and the Regional House of Chiefs to make this possible," he stated.
He further urged the chiefs, the security agencies and the District Chief Executives work together and ensure that the natural resources of the country are protected.
The Minister re-echoed the government's position on mining, saying: "The President has not said we should stop mining. What he does not want done is irresponsible small-scale mining, which will destroy our water bodies and forest reserves.”
Mr Jinapor further disclosed that the government is also ready to start a reclamation programme, which will help reclaim and revegetate all mined-out areas within a space of two to three years.
He added that "protecting the lands, water bodies and forests of our country also means protecting our own interests and future, so, let's work together to achieve this goal."
Speaking on behalf of the House of Chiefs, the President of the Western Regional House of Chiefs, who also doubles as the President of the National House of Chiefs, Ogyeahohuo Yaw Gyebi, lauded the Minister for the job done so far and asked, among other things, that the mining companies in the region be furnished with very good security presence to protect and prevent future threats on the lives of the people living in the communities.
Some other chiefs also suggested that the government establish district offices in various mining areas, which will ensure the monitoring and evaluation of the mining companies in those areas.
This, they said, can go a long way to help develop the communities, as a percentage of what the companies earn can be channelled into the coffers of the community for future development.