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NewsMahama vows to set-up district mining offices in all mining areas nationwide...

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Mahama vows to set-up district mining offices in all mining areas nationwide – Mahama on galamsey

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Former President John Dramani Mahama has strongly criticized the Akufo-Addo administration, alleging mishandling of Ghana’s mining sector.

Speaking at the ‘3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale mining,’ Mahama accused the government of neglecting the needs of small-scale miners, resulting in equipment confiscations and even loss of lives.

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Mahama outlined a comprehensive plan to revamp the sector, starting with the establishment of district mining offices across mining areas.

These offices, staffed with officials from relevant agencies, aim to streamline licensing processes and enhance transparency.

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“To support these efforts, we plan to amend the Minerals and Mining Act to grant district mining offices a legal mandate to issue mining licenses. This would decentralise the licensing regime and increase the number of regulated small-scale mining companies and youth employment, particularly under the 24-hour economy policy,” he said.

“As part of our broader economic transformation model and a burning commitment to creating more sustainable and decent jobs for the Ghanaian youth, my administration intends to ensure the active involvement of mining engineers and graduates from the University of Mines and Technology and the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, in the small-scale mining sector, creating opportunities for them. These professionals will be attached to the newly created district mining offices and small-scale operators to provide guidance and support.”

Additionally, Mahama proposed amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act to empower these offices to issue licenses, decentralizing the system and boosting youth employment.

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In a bid to integrate expertise and foster sustainable practices, Mahama pledged to involve mining professionals from universities in the sector.

“One of the impacts of illegal mining, including galamsey, has been the destruction of forests and cocoa farms. We will protect the destruction of cocoa farms for mining and effectively ban the issuance of entry permits into forests. Mining in water bodies will be outrightly prohibited. Recognising the invaluable role of traditional leaders in our society and as a testament to our commitment to inclusivity and respect for all stakeholders, I intend to have traditional leaders included in the crucial process of granting mining licenses in their communities.

“Therefore, we must strengthen regulatory institutions such as the Minerals Commission, the EPA, the Geological Survey Authority, and the Natural Resources Universities to further this.

“This will involve laws, policies, regulatory enforcement, and education. Miners must be aware of the regulations and their reasons. They must be partners in this transforma>on and not adversaries.

“It is also my vision to reform the mining sector structurally. Ghana’s small-scale mining sector is perhaps the only economic sector with only two categories—small and large. Some mines within the small-scale category have grown beyond ‘small’ but are not large enough to qualify as large-scale. My government will structurally reform the entire mining sector through a comprehensive re-categorisation into Small-scale (SSM), Medium-scale (MSM), and Large-scale (LSM), each with specifically tailored operational, environmental, and safety requirements,” he said.

This move aligns with his vision of creating more jobs for Ghanaian youth while promoting responsible mining practices.

Highlighting environmental concerns, Mahama vowed to protect cocoa farms and forests from mining activities, with strict prohibitions on mining in water bodies.

He also emphasized the inclusion of traditional leaders in the licensing process, aiming for a collaborative approach with all stakeholders.

Mahama criticized the current aggressive tactics against illegal mining, labeling them unsustainable and prone to exploitation by some political actors.

He proposed a structural overhaul of the mining sector, advocating for categorization into Small-scale, Medium-scale, and Large-scale operations, each with tailored regulations for operational, environmental, and safety standards.

Mahama’s proposals signal a comprehensive strategy to address longstanding issues in Ghana’s mining sector, aiming for sustainability, inclusivity, and responsible practices.

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