At the inaugural National Dialogue Series of the National Queen Mothers’ Platform, Ghana, the eminent group of Paramount Queen Mothers from Traditional Authorities in Ghana, resolved unanimously to embark on a “Say No to Illegal Mining Campaign” nationwide.
Held at the Capital View Hotel of Koforidua on Wednesday, 30th November 2022, the National President of the Platform, Nana Amponsah Dokua III bemoaned the fact that a lot of discussion on national issues are done excluding the Queen Mothers. She assured of the capacity and legitimacy of the Queen Mothers to take part in the important subject of illegal mining activities at the large- and small-scale levels. Nana President Amponsah Dokua III emphasised that the National Queen Mothers’ Platform had come to stay. She promised to stay the course and invited the public and media to become partners in amplifying their voice.
Welcoming the participants, the Country Representative of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS) Ghana Office, Dr. Arne Wulff, said the effects of the ruined water bodies from illegal mining would take generations to repair. He asserted that KAS observed a lack of will to stop illegal mining as a major problem. He highlighted the problem of rumour-mongering as a major part of entrenching the menace and tasked the experts present to throw more light on the subject. He called for a strong statement from the Queen Mothers to end illegal mining. He said that KAS was prepared to continue supporting the initiative of the Platform.
There were four resource persons from the academia, small-scale miners, CSO and media as well as the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources. Dr. E.Y. Tenkorang from the Department of Environmental Governance and Sustainable Development of the University of Cape Coast gave a historical background, status and statistics on the cost of mining, especially small-scale mining. Whilst only 2% of total gold production occurred via small-scale mining in 1989, it increased to 31% in 2016 and presently stands at 43%. He further indicated that about $2.3 billion worth of gold was unaccounted for as leaving the country. This, he said, was suggestive of illegal mining activities.
On his part, Abdul Razak Alhassan of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners said they operate within the legal framework to promote effective, efficient and responsible artisanal mining for sustainable development. He insisted that small-scale mining was different from the illegal mining activities complained of.
James Kwabena Bomfeh Jnr, Executive Director of Rights of Youth and Disability (RYD) International, called for a second look at the legal regime on mineral ownership to reflect the interest of the people who sit on that wealth. Instead of investing the ownership of the entire wealth to the state, and held in trust by the President, the people who own the specific land must have a share in it to protect their interest from illegal actors.
Mr. Benjamin Nii Ayi Aryee from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources gave a background to the present state of the widespread illegal activities, stressing on some of the efforts by the state to deal with the menace. He called for a collaborative and holistic
approach to manage mining at the large- and small-scale levels. He assured of the state responsibility to play a two-fold approach: on one hand, tone-setting and enforcement, and on the other hand, facilitation the lawful exploitation of minerals.
The forum ended with a fruitful panel discussion and the resolve to renounce and engage further on the call to: SAY NO TO ILLEGAL MINING IN GHANA NOW!