Government proposes to tackle illegal mining through collaboration

Government would tackle illegal mining activities (galamsey) through collaboration, law enforcement and technological approach, Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has announced.

He said these interventions would first have to identify the challenges and the available opportunities in the mining sector.

He recounted that in 2014, a number of foreigners were arrested in various swoops and deported.

He said the commitment to sustain these swoops to preserve and protect the environment had been lacking because it was not sustainable.

“This is why the Ministry has come up with a concept of Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP),” Mr Amewu stated on Wednesday in Accra during the Stakeholders Workshop on ‘How to Control Illegal Mining Activities in Ghana.’

“This Project will be planned and implemented between three to five years. A holistic approach to combat illegal mining relies on more than just militants and combat actions in mining communities; MMIP combines Legislations Enforcement Civil Integration and Technical Approach (LECITA) as a sustainable and structured but regimental conjoint concept which will encompass multi stakeholders,” the Minister stated.

Mr Amewu said the mining sector in Ghana was categorised into large and small scale; adding that the Small Scale Mining (SSM) sector was reserved for Ghanaians, while the Large Scale Mining (LSM) sector was opened for foreign participation.

“It is estimated that 25,000 and over 1.5 million people are engaged in the large scale and the small scale mining sectors respectively,” he said.

“One can only see that the SSM sector provides more jobs to people than the large scale mining sector.

“However, the LSM sector is more organised and, therefore, environmentally friendly than the small scale mining especially illegal mining,” he said.
Mr Amewu said illegal SSM was seen carried out in forest reserves, water bodies, cocoa farms and LSM concessions and even around sensitive infrastructures like schools and railway lines.

He explained that Galamsey activities have had and continue to have negative impacts on the environment and socio-economic development of the entire country in recent years.

Mr Amewu said the menace of illegal mining had assumed a dimension that posed a threat to national security and therefore, required a multi-stakeholder engagement to identify the various challenges and available opportunities for overcoming them.

He said various interventions initiated by successive governments to address the galamsey menace had been hampered by various challenges such as the lack of political will, inability to enforce laws and ownership of lands versus ownership of minerals.

Others were the spectrum of people involved, diplomatic relations with affected foreign nationals’ countries and necessary support from some state institutions and every citizen.

He said the government had the political will to enforce the appropriate measures to control illegal mining in the country.

Dr Toni Aubynn, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said it was high time government found a lasting solution to the issue of illegal mining in the country.

Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, a mining consultant and an Independent Presidential Candidate in the 2016 general election, called for a second look at the issue of SSM; adding that there was the need to develop a system to reclaim all degraded mining areas.

Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Paramount Chief of the Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, who chaired the event, explained that illegal mining was an illegality and should not be confused with galamsey activties.

Mr Jiang Zhouteng, the Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana and Mr Andrew Barns, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana were among the dignitaries who attended the workshop.

 

Source: ghanabusinessnews.com

Public told not to build around buffer Zones

By: Mildred Siabi-Mensah GNA
Takoradi, March 9, GNA – The citizenry have been called upon not to raise structures or dump waste along the buffers zones of the country’s water bodies.

This is because leaving the buffer zones undisturbed contributed to maintaining the ecosystem, ensured protection and improvement of biodiversity.

Lawyer Bernadette Arabs Adjei, Principal Legal personnel at the Water Resources Commission at a workshop on the development of buffer zones said buffers provided the needed goods and services on sustainable basis to support the livelihood of local communities.

The workshop was to solicit input from stakeholders on a legislative instrument and dissemination of the Dam Safety Regulations (LI 2236).

Reduced vegetation cover along water bodies coupled with increasing pollution from domestic and industrial waste had resulted in sediments and its subsequent deterioration in water quality of natural water bodies, Ms Adjei noted.

The objective of the LI is aimed at ensuring that all designated buffer zones along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies are protected in a sustainable manner.

Ms Adjei said the LI sought to ensure that buffer zones were incorporated into the local land use plans, provide specifics on alterations of natural conditions in some areas and exclude the exploitation or occupations that were inimical to the purposes of designated zones.

Dr. Bob Alfa, Surface Water Engineer at the Commission, entreated Ghanaians entrepreneurs in that sector to acquire the necessary licensing from the Commission in the guidelines regarding the sector was followed.

Participants during the plenary discussion called for more community engagement and awareness on the subject to win their corporations.

The assemblies were also urged to establish bye laws to protect buffer zones.

 

Source: modernghana.com

FORIG urges increased support to produce bio-pesticides

By:  Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA
Fumesua, (Ash), Mar 09, GNA – The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) has appealed for increased national support to develop and produce botanical pesticides to aid food production.

Dr. Daniel Aniagyei Ofori, the Director, said it had already conducted research into tree species, which could be used to produce non-harmful and highly effective pesticides for farming.

He indicated that they were having a difficulty going into large scale production of these because of the lack of funds and logistical support.

He was briefing the Minister of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, on research activities of the Institute at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality.

The Minister was in the Ashanti Region to acquaint himself with the operation and the challenges faced by institutions under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Dr. Ofori said the high point of bio-pesticides was that these were not harmful and environmentally-friendly to food and cash crop production.

He mentioned the neem tree and Jathopha as some of the trees, which had proven to be suitable for bio pesticide production.

He spoke of the production of the ‘Prekese Syrup’ by the Institute, which had been certified by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and was on the market.

‘Prekese’ is believed to have chemical properties which can be used to manage hypertension and other heart conditions.

He said studies were ongoing to identify high-yielding and early maturing ‘prekese’ trees to establish plantations for sustainable supply of the raw material for production.

Dr. Ofori hinted of a number of model technologies and innovations to support agroforestry for climate resilience, food security and job creation.

Added to these, were technologies for sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation, alongside allometric equations for above ground and below ground biomass estimation, used in mapping of forest cover and carbon stock.

FORIG has also established seed orchards and seed stands, engaged in the production of improved seeds and seedlings for planting, site-species matching and techniques for planting establishments.

Again, there was the production of briquette from sawn dust for biofuel energy and an extender for plywood production from cassava.

Dr. Ofori pointed out that it had the expertise to develop technologies that would help protect the nation’s natural resources and its biodiversity, promote efficient utilization of forest timber and non-timber products, identify medicinal and food products to improve the lives of the people.

Prof Frimpong Boateng commended FORIG for its achievement and said it was time research outcomes by local scientists were fully utilize for the benefit of the nation.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Illegal mining: Chiefs, politicians fingered in documentary to be released soon

By: Naa Sakwaba Akwa

 

Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper says chiefs, politicians and other public servants have been fingered in a documentary on illegal mining being prepared by his team.

Kweku Baako said the investigative team, supported by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye PI, has been gathering the materials for the past nine months and will be released once all the facts have been properly verified.

Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokroko’, the  veteran journalist and a sympathizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the details are shocking.

“It has to do with this whole galamsey thing and when we are ready, we will put out the facts. It has been going on for nine months.

“Elements in all the parties, major parties who have ruled the country, including the NPP are involved at the constituency, district and regional levels,” he said.

Residents in mining communities across the country have consistently complained about the activities of illegal miners, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.

galamsey picture of the week

Activities of galamsey operators has resulted in the pollution of the River Pra

The activities of the illegal miners – which sometimes includes Chinese – have caused a lot of damage to many river bodies, including Pra and Birim.

Many farmlands and other properties have been destroyed, striping residents off their livelihood. Earlier this week, the Tanoso Water Treatment Plant in the Brong Ahafo region had to be shut down as a result of the drying up of the Tano river.

Although the drying up of the river is partly as a result of the long period of drought in the area, residents believe the indiscriminate illegal mining activities are a major factor.

Governments over the period have failed in their attempts to curb the situation. Newly appointed Western Regional minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie says laws on illegal mining need to be enforced if the situation can be successfully addressed.

But Kweku Baako said some of the chiefs are culprits in the ongoing menace.

“Chiefs, people in the security services, the forestry and minerals commission are all part of the rot and it is spirit killing,” he said.

He is, however confident in the abilities of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to deal with the situation once the evidence is put before him.

“I believe he will act, if he doesn’t, I will be so shocked.”

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Minister Charged Media To Be Vociferous Against Indiscriminate Tree Felling

 

The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Lawyer Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh has charged the media, both print and electronic to be vociferous against indiscriminately tree felling in the region.

Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh said the indiscriminately tree felling in the region has affected some people in the region negatively.

The Brong Ahafo Regional minister made the call when SPACE FM, a private radio station in Sunyani presented an Award the station won last year from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).

The station was among ten radio stations in the country that won Award in recognition of their contribution to Decent Language and Issues Based Campaigning during Ghana’s 2016 Elections.

According to the Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh, the last Friday rain storm that hit some parts of the region should be a concern to all and sundry in the region.

He said his initial investigations into the incident had reviewed that, indiscriminate tree felling was a major contributor to the storm that destroyed 110 houses, school buildings and church buildings in Dormaa Central , Techiman South and in Ahafo , Asunafo Districts and rendered many families houseless.

Honorable Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh said the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the affected district assemblies are putting things together, to accommodate the homeless and seek assistance from the Central government for them.

He noted that our forests in the region are being destroyed as results of the activities of Chainsaw Operators and others.

According to the newly Brong Ahafo regional minister, the activities of the Chainsaw Operators must be discouraged before they turn our forests into deserts.

The minister added that proactive steps must be taken to encourage tree planting in the region.

Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh said he will discuss the issue with the Brong Ahafo Forestry Service Commission (FSC), and the Regional Security Council (RESEC) will take up the matter to find a lasting solution to the indiscriminate tree felling in the region.

He charged the media to be proactive in the fight against the menace in the region.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Committee on Lands and Forestry pushes for state adoption of Subah’s digital mapping system

By: George Nyavor

 

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry is pushing for the state to adopt Subah Infosolution’s National Digital Mapping and Addressing System.

Chairman of the Committee, Benito Owusu-Bio, believes the technology would solve the many land litigations that individuals and estate agents face.

“With the bold initiative that they [Subah] have taken by investing their own money into the project, it is laudable. With what I have seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if the government becomes interested and joins as a partner,” he told the press after a tour of Subah’s offices in Accra.

A delegation from the Committee was at the premises last week to familiarize themselves with the addressing system.

The system, currently at a pilot stage in Accra, when completed will provide a robust addressing infrastructure to the whole country, using state-of-the-art technology for a property, household, street and address information.

The National Digital Mapping and Property Addressing System will also provide address information to landmarks and facilities such as hospitals, places of worship among others.

The system has a satellite imagery of all 216 districts across the country.

Subah Parliament

The system is supported by a call centre that can interact with residents at a particular location in real time.

The project is an upgrade of the NaWabin Project, which was one of Subah’s nationwide collection of personal data to enable every household to be allocated a waste bin and collection periodically.

The waste bins that were distributed by Subah under the NaWabin project was not just ordinary bins but smart bins that made it possible for garbage vehicles to register the content of the bin and its disposal as well. When the bins are full a central system is able to capture that for effective and speedy waste disposal.

Speaking after the tour of Subah’s premises, Mr. Owusu-Bio said in a bid to end the challenges facing the land administration in Ghana it would be good for the government to fully support and buy into Subah’s system.

He, however, called for collaboration between Subah and sector agencies like the lands commission, local government authorities, MMDAs and the security services as that would increase the robustness of the system and make it more efficient.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Environment Minister visits Atomic Energy Commission

By: Christabel Addo, GNA


Accra, March 2, GNA –

Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), has paid a working visit to the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC).

He called for closer cooperation with the Ministry in finding sustainable solutions to the challenges within the institution, in order to enhance their work, particularly in the area of research and innovation.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng was accompanied by Mr Alex Quainoo, the Director of Finance, MESTI and other Directors of the Ministry as well as Mr Oliver Boakye, a Special Assistant to the Minister.

The Minister said he was already familiar with the numerous challenges confronting the Commission citing the issue of sustainable research funding, the current massive encroachment on their lands, sustainable electricity supply, as very disturbing as these stifle the smooth operation of the institution.

He however commended the staff and management for working hard over the years to keep the Commission on its toes, and also for effectively and safely managing all radioactive sources in the country so that they did not get into wrong hands.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said government has promised to enhance science and technology, making it part of its improved education priority, and as such would increase research funding from the current 0.25 per cent to 1.0 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product, to encourage quality outputs.

He said it was an irony that in spite of the cravings that research institutions including GAEC, the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, to go commercial, they were not supported in terms of local funding to do so.

He explained that since most of their funding often came from foreign sponsors, the institutions were obliged to hand over their findings to their benefactors who became the beneficiaries.

The Minister encouraged researcher scientists to develop innovative ways of attracting local funding to expand their work, so that their findings would be owned locally for sustainable development.

On the issue of stable electricity supply, Prof. Frimpong Boateng said he intended to initiate a discussion with the Energy Sector Ministry, to ensure a viable option from the current prepaid billing for sensitive research laboratories across the country, in order to save delicate and historical samples from irreparable damages.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng stated that all was set to inaugurate the Ghana National Space Science Institute at Kuntunse in the Greater Accra Region in May 2017, to provide spatial education, and secure Ghana’s cosmic environment among other things.

The success of these and other government projects, he said would require land for expansion, and appealed to traditional authorities as well as district assembles nationwide, to desist from the indiscriminate sale of state reserved lands, leaving no space for future national developments for the benefit of all Ghanaians.

He said research Institutions have lost nearly 80 per cent of their reserved research lands to encroachers, but gave the assurance that the Ministry was currently engaging with the Ministry of the Interior and the Inspector General of Police, to investigate what was happening to salvage the situation, ‘hoping there are no forces within to distract the process’.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng also gave the staff the opportunity to voice their concerns, and entertained suggestions on ways in which the overall management and functioning of the Agency could be improved.

Prof. Benjamin Jabez Nyarko, GAEC Director-General, pledged the commitment of management and staff to work harder towards achieving all the objects of the Institution in the years ahead.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Save Achimota School lands from encroachers – Authorities appeal to Akufo-Addo

 

Authorities at Achimota School have appealed to President Nana Akufo-Addo to help secure the school’s land as it continues to be at risk from marauding encroachers.

Beatrice T. Adom, the headmistress of one of Ghana’s oldest schools, described the situation as a distraction to teaching and learning activities.

On the occasion of the School’s 90th-anniversary celebration, she appealed for help as parts of the school’s land have been taken over by land guards and developers who are putting up structures without a permit, threatening the very existence of the school.

“There have been instances where land guards have even threaten staff members occupying school bungalow to vacate such facilities claiming they are the owners of the land on which the facility has been built.

“Some of these individuals and groups sometimes act with impunity without any regard for the law. This unfortunate situation is a major challenge confronting this 90-year-old mother,” the headmistress said.

She lamented that after the years and successes the school has chalked, it still does not have a wall to protect it landed property.

“Without the wall, the school is very vulnerable and our security is highly compromised. Activities in the Achimota Forest and the adjoining slums continue to pose a security challenge to the school.

She appealed to the President and Old Achimota Association to take the matter to heart and help wall the school.

A 172-acre land is at the heart of a legal battle between the school and Osu traditional leaders who in 2011, took possession of the property located in prime areas in Accra.

The school’s lands were acquired by ordinance by the colonial government from the Osu stool in 1921 and an amount of 4,000 pounds paid to the elders of the stool.

But a protracted land litigation became murkier when the Osu Mankralo stool and a few elders went to court and averred that more than 170 acres of the land were not being used for the purpose for which the colonial government acquired it.

Consequently, the Osu Mankralo stool wants it reverted to the original owners.

A legal officer of the Lands Commission said, according to records available at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, instead of informing the Attorney-General to enable the government to prepare a solid defense, the School failed to do so.

Rather, he said they went to court to state, among other things, that the state had no evidence to adduce in defense and, therefore, the court could go ahead and make a ruling.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Minister issues directive to sanitise forestry sector

Mr John-Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said there is a ban on export of Rosewood across the country as part of efforts to bring sanity in the forestry sector.

He said the ban also gives a directive to the Forestry Commission to stop the issuance of felling permits which were ways to ensure the reverse of the decline of the forest and wildlife resources by addressing vigorously the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.
“We will embark on tree nurseries establishment, forest plantation development, development of the bamboo and rattan industry, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water bodies and promotion of eco-tourism,” he said.
Mr Amewu said this when he toured the agencies under his ministry on Wednesday and assured them of the ministry’s commitment to solving their challenges.
The tour was to enable him to familiarise with the agencies, assess their working conditions and share with them the vision of the Government in the next four years.
The Minister visited the Forestry Commission and the Ghana Geological Survey Authority where a staff durbar was held to formally introduce him to the staff and management of these institutions.
Addressing the staff of the Forestry Commission, Mr Amewu said the high levels of illegal logging chainsaw, mining activities, poor farming practices, annual wildfires, population pressure, the complex nature of Ghana’s land tenure system and weak law enforcement had further worsened the situation.
He said the effects of deforestation and forest degradation were beginning to manifest in the extinction of water bodies, loss of important timber species like odum and wawa, loss of wildlife habitat, rise in temperatures and unpredictable rainfall patterns due to climate change.
“The forestry sub-sector is one of the key sectors that has a huge potential for driving the economic development of this country, forests are among the world’s most productive land-based ecosystems and are essential to life on earth.
“I expect hard-work from every staff of the Commission, punctuality, discipline, corruption-free environment and dedication to service to drive the sector forward,’’ he said.
He, therefore, reassured them of his commitment to facilitating the competition of processes for the effective implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, the passage of the Wildlife Bill, the approval of Timber Procurement Policy and ensuring the availability of funds to undertake the planned activities.
Mr Ben Nathan Donkor, the Acting Director of the Forestry Commission, said the Commission remained committed to realising the President’s vision for the Forestry sector which is in line with its vision, leaving future generations and their communities with richer, better and more valuable forestry and wildlife endowments.
The Chief Director of the Ministry, Professor Bruce Kofi Baneong-Yakubo, and Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, accompanied the Minister.
Source: ghanabusinessnews.com

 

Govt Bans Export Of Rosewood, Stops Issuance Of Permits

 

Mr John-Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has announced a ban on export of Rosewood across the country as part of efforts to bring sanity in the forestry sector.

He has, therefore, issued a directive to the Forestry Commission to stop the issuance of felling permits which were ways to ensure the reverse of the decline of the forest and wildlife resources by addressing vigorously the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation.

“We will embark on tree nurseries establishment, forest plantation development, development of the bamboo and rattan industry, conservation of biodiversity, protection of water bodies and promotion of eco-tourism,” he said.

Mr Amewu said this when he toured the agencies under his ministry on Wednesday and assured them of the ministry’s commitment to solving their challenges.

The tour was to enable him to familiarise with the agencies, access their working conditions and share with them the vision of the Government in the next four years.

The minister visited the Forestry Commission and the Ghana Geological Survey Authority where a staff durbar was held to formally introduce him to the staff and management of these institutions.

Addressing the staff of the Forestry Commission, Mr Amewu said the high levels of illegal logging chainsaw, mining activities, poor farming practices, annual wildfires, population pressure, the complex nature of Ghana’s land tenure system and weak law enforcement had further worsened the situation.

He said the effects of deforestation and forest degradation were beginning to manifest in the extinction of water bodies, loss of important timber species like ‘odum’ and ‘wawa’, loss of wildlife habitat, rise in temperatures and unpredictable rainfall patterns due to climate change.

“The forestry sub-sector is one of the key sectors that has a huge potential for driving the economic development of this country, forests are among the world’s most productive land-based ecosystems and are essential to life on earth.

“I expect hard-work from every staff of the Commission, punctuality, discipline, corruption-free environment and dedication to service to drive the sector forward,’’ he said.

He, therefore, reassured them of his commitment to facilitating the competition of processes for the effective implementation of the Voluntary Partnership Agreement, the passage of the Wildlife Bill, the approval of Timber Procurement Policy and ensuring the availability of funds to undertake the planned activities.

Mr Ben Nathan Donkor, the Acting Director of the Forestry Commission, said the Commission remained committed to realising the President’s vision for the Forestry sector which is in line with its vision, leaving future generations and their communities with richer, better and more valuable forestry and wildlife endowments.

The Chief Director of the Ministry, Professor Bruce Kofi Baneong-Yakubo, and Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry, accompanied the Minister.

 

Source: peacefmonline.com