The Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame has issued a stern warning to licit mining companies in the region saying they must operate strictly within the remit of the mining regulations.
According to him, the era where mining companies engaged in infractions but escaped unpunished is a thing of the past.
He said the Akufo-Addo-led government is committed to securing a sustainable environment for the future generation hence will ensure that forest reserves, water bodies, and all other natural ecosystems are secured and protected from pollution and degradation.
The Regional minister stressed that mining companies must respect the 100-meter buffer zone for roads, forest reserves, streams, rivers, railway lines, and 300 meters from electric pillion and national installations as captured in the cadastral map and established by regulations.
He said mining in forest reserves and water bodies is prohibited.
“Any person who wants to engage in the extractive industry – be it gold, be it diamond, be it manganese, bauxite limestone, sand anything, you will require permission before you can go ahead to do that extractive activity call mining.
“By that same effect, knowledge has thought us that we require to protect our environment hence the needed requirement we pursue with our Environmental Protection Agency. So EPA will also have to certify that you are not going against any of the regulations so far established. Because of our natural bodies – the water bodies, our natural forest that we have outlawed and establish that no person must enter the forest which is reserved and restricted without lawful authority”
The Eastern Regional Minister Seth Kwame Acheampong said this during a stakeholder engagement on responsible mining at Nkawkaw participated various mining companies, chiefs, and other stakeholders in Kwahu West, Kwahu East, and Birim North districts.
The Eastern Regional Director of the Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA) Felix Addo-Okyere charged the Municipal and District Assemblies to ensure that mining companies that come to their jurisdiction to operate produce valid lease, digging and Environmental permits before they are granted business operating permits.
He emphasized that only seven large- and small-scale mining companies are recognized to have met all the requirements and permitted to operate in the region, however, noted some six other mining companies without full permit in the region.
He warned them to complete the processes before undertake any mining activity.
The Eastern Regional Director of the Minerals Commission Joshua Quaye – Sowah, noted that some mining companies beginning their permit acquisition processes use prospecting licenses to surreptitiously engage in mining. He said such acts constitute illegality and firms found culpable will be dealt with according to law.
#Ahenkanfmonline / 93.3 FM