By Mildred Siabi-Mensah, GNA
Accra , Jan. 16, GNA – Professor Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation has said forest and water bodies are fundamental to human survival and must be protected from wanton destruction by illegal gold miners.
He said the forest and its biodiversity were sources of drugs to treat diseases, as well as food and vegetables among others.
Professor Frimpong Boateng said this when he met a team of Journalists in the Western Region as part of series of activities carried out in all mining districts across the country.
The team would also visit Tarkwa, Kenyase, Dunkwa and Kyebi to inaugurate the district mining committees.
He said: « Indeed we cannot destroy our forest and expect to have life and live it.We cannot survive without these biodiversity and we would therefore not sit down to see that foreigners in particular destroy our very existence ».
Prof. Boateng, who is also the Chairman of the Inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining, said the committee would fight against all forms of illegal mining including the use of dangerous chemicals such as cyanide and mercury, galamsey dredging and foreigners engaging in small scale mining.
He disclosed that about 1,350 registered small scale miners had submitted their particulars for review, while 800 had undergone training.
« After all is said and done, the ban may be lifted by the President to ensure that those certified would do responsible mining, » he added.
Mr Dan Botwe, the Minister of Regional Re-Organisation and Development, encouraged the media to showcase the works of those mining responsibly within the small scale sector to serve as example to others.
Ms Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said a consultant had been engaged to assess and reorganise the small scale mining sector.
Part of the interventions is the establishment of the District Committee against illegal Mining with the task to manage the relationship between small scale miners and other mineral right holders, ensure that members of the small scale mining were licensed; and promote sustainable small scale mining activities.
In March last year, President Akufo-Addo established the inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining to sanitise and curb the menace of illegal mining.
He believes that constant, close and effective monitoring and reporting of anti-galamsey activities would ensure that the right things were done at all times.