The King of Ashanti Kingdom, Otumfuo Osei-Tutu II, on Friday, pledged his support for the government’s resolve to combat illegal mining.
He commended the Executive for taking such a bold decision to fight the canker in view of the devastation illegal mining popularly called ‘galamsey’ had caused to the environment and water bodies.
He chastised environmental management bodies such as the Environmental Protection Agency, Minerals Commission and Ghana Water Resources Commission for failing to stop the menace and allowing illegal mining to fester to such a devastating dimension.
Otumfuo Osei-Tutu made the pledge when the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, led a delegation to the Manhyia Palace in Kumasi, ahead of a four-day tour of some mining sites in the Ashanti Region.
The Asantehene said the government must find alternative livelihood programme for miners who would be affected by the exercise.
He said Johannesburg in South Africa had developed with gold and expressed wonder why Ghana should destroy the environment with the same resource; and therefore all those involved in the illegality to halt it for the best interest of the country.
He urged government to strictly follow the agenda of reclaiming the lands and clean the water bodies.
Mr Amewu, reiterated government’s commitment to curb the practice, adding that the Executive is not anti- mining but against the destruction being caused to the environment as a result of the activity.
He noted that government was against the methodology being used by illegal miners and said the exercise was intended to sanitise the mining sector.
He said after all illegal miners had been flushed out, opportunity would be given to Ghanaians both home and abroad to be allowed to license and operate mining within the remits of the mining law.
The Australian High Commissioner, Mr Andrew Barnes, said his country had good experience in the mining sector and would share its experiences with Ghana to halt the menace.
He said the countryside must be a place worth living however the co-operation of traditional authorities to join the campaign should not be underestimated.
The Minister of Lands was accompanied by his two deputies, Madam Barbara Oteng- Gyasi and Mr Benito Owusu-Bio as well as the Ashanti Regional Minister, Mr Simon Osei-Mensah, and officials from the Forestry Commission.
The entourage would visit some mining sites during the four-day tour to familiarise themselves with the situation regarding the directive for all illegal miners to evacuate their equipment and leave mining sites.
In April this year, the Sector Minister issued a 21-day ultimatum for illegal miners to evacuate their excavators from mining communities in the quest to sanitise the mining sector.