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30.10.2003 General News

Government will adhere to mining laws

By GNA
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Accra, Oct. 30, GNA- Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama on Thursday said government would ensure that companies offered licenses to mine in productive forest reserves adhered strictly to guidelines on mining. "Government would ensure that all mining companies comply with mining laws of Ghana by strengthening the capacities of the ministries, departments and agencies that have oversight responsibilities for mining and the environment."

The Vice President said this in a speech read for him by Mr Issah Ketekewu, a Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development at a day's national youth summit on the environment held in Accra. The summit has the theme "environment, mining and forestry- which way forward," and attracted about 1,500 members of the Ghana Wildlife Society and the Wildlife Clubs of Ghana.

He said extensive education was going on in mining communities to enable them to recognise the limitations of the companies.

"Government on her part would ensure that mining companies fulfil their obligations to the affected communities and that their methods of exploitation are both technically and economically efficient," he said.

Alhaji Mahama said government was therefore expediting actions on reviewing the mining regulations to address concerns in the mining industries, such as royalties, compensations and alternative livelihood scheme adding, "By creating the right balance we would be achieving sustainable development."

He said government realized the extensive environmental degradation caused by some mine companies and announced that it has introduced a number of measures to reduce the damage through the Expanded National Plantation Development Programme.

" Under the five year Programme, 100,000 hectares of forest both within and outside reserves and in urban areas would be replanted.

This programme alone is expected to generate 100,000 full time and 36,000 part-time jobs, adding government had released 41 billion cedis for the establishment of 10,000 hectares of plantation for 2003-2004," he told the summit.

He commended the organizations who have created awareness on environmental issues, adding the communities now regard the environment as their heritage and have taken upon themselves to establish community nature reserves as well as policing them.

The Vice President noted that the problems with Ghana's environment was not of inadequate regulations or organizations to manage them but was that of indiscipline and asked the youth to create awareness and educate their peers and parents on the need to exploit the environment within the confines of the law and laws of nature.

He said government was not against artisanal mining, charcoal burning, mining, and farming but cautioned all to carry out those activities in a sustainable manner to ensure that natural resources are provided for posterity.

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