Afosu (E/R), May 11, GNA-Mr Victor Emmanuel Smith, Eastern Regional Minister, on Friday expressed worry over the escalating illegal mining “galamsey operations” in the country.
“Some serious actions need to be put in place to quickly contain the threat this haphazard way of mining poses as we struggle to develop our country.”
Mr Smith was speaking at Afosu in the Birim North District during Newmont Golden Ridge apprenticeship matriculation and promotion programme.
He said if galamsey was not well regulated in communities, the consequences could be disastrous.
Mr Smith said government over the years implemented a number of measures to encourage small-scale miners to operate in an economically and environmentally sustainable manner.
He indicated that one of the main objectives of the laws governing gold mining was the regulation of the industry in such a way that the miners, particularly, small-scale miners could operate in an efficient environmentally friendly manner.
Mr Smith said very soon, the district would witness the mining of gold and like the exploitation of any rich mineral in the country that could either degrade the social-economic foundation of the area or improve upon it.
He said mining had the propensity to affect the psyche of the youth by making them lazy and develop a “get rich quick” attitude.
According to Mr Smith, mining could also affect the national agricultural programmes and the government's aggressive efforts to revamp the agricultural sector under the block farm concept.
“I am happy to hear that, Newmont Golden Ridge intends to encourage the indigenes to be involved in all its activities”.
Mr Smith said the Newmont Golden Ridge apprenticeship programme was laudable since it was in line with government's business model for community development such as the Local Enterprise and Skills Development Programme (LESDEP) and the National Youth Employment Programme (NYEP).
He expressed appreciation on behalf of government and the Eastern Region to the company for employing the youth in the community.
Ms Mavis Ama Frimpong, the Birim North District Chief Executive (DCE), appealed to Newmont Golden Ridge to also consider recruiting more women in their programmes.
She advised the matriculates to take whatever they were taught seriously so that they could graduate next year and join their colleagues who were being promoted.
Mr Kim Hackney, the Regional Project Director, Newmont Ghana, said the apprenticeship programme was the organisation's flagship programme which would provide an opportunity to showcase their commitment to their stakeholders.
He said in line with their corporate social responsibility policy, the company would develop, operate and close mines consistent with their commitment to sustainable development, protection of human life, health, the environment and add value to the communities in which they operate.
Mr Hackney said they would always partner with the communities and the government so that they would all receive maximum benefit from their relationship.