The Asantehene Otumfuo, Osei Tutu II, wants a multi-stakeholder approach adopted towards tackling the adverse impact of climate change in the country.
According to him, activities such as illegal mining put the environment at risk and should be tackled with the seriousness it requires.
The Asantehene made this statement when the US Ambassador to Ghana paid a courtesy call on him at the Manhyia Palace as part of activities to mark World Earth Day.
He called on all stakeholders in the mining sector to make a conscious effort to address the devastating effects of bad mining practices on the environment.
“I don’t think Ghana has taken it up seriously [enough] for us to make a conscious effort and for us all to be conscious about the fact that we are all bound to preserve the climate and earth. And talking about that, you can talk about illegal mining which includes the destruction of the water that we drink, the contamination of minerals and the destruction of the earth. The new Lands Minister has been bold to find a solution to this and this is the kind of consciousness we all need,” Otumfuo advised.
The government recently renewed its commitment to fighting illegal mining at a National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining, where stakeholders charged the government to take steps to strictly apply the country’s mining laws.
A communiqué issued at the end of the event highlighted key agreements and concessions made by the about 14 stakeholders who agreed that the government must work to apply the sanctions and penalties imposed by Mining Act 995 to anyone who breaks the mining law and that this must be done without fear or favour.
Former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Inusah Fuseini, has attributed the struggles in the fight against illegal mining to tedious bureaucracy and the cost of formalization.
He is of the view that these factors sometimes serve as a disincentive for persons considering legal avenues for small-scale mining.
“The miner goes to apply, and it takes him two years to get the licence. Even before he goes to dig the ground, he’s already very indebted to the lender, so there is pressure, a push for him to engage in illegal activity. We must reduce the time it takes to get a licence”, he emphasized.
Also, the government issued a directive ordering persons undertaking prospecting activities in forest reserves across the country to indefinitely suspend such activities.
It also directed the Minerals Commission to desist from processing or granting any request for the renewal of prospecting licenses in forest reserves.