Mr John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has urged illegal miners to take advantage of the numerous opportunities offered by government under the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) to make a living.
He said the MMIP, a five-year initiative adopted by the Ministry, embodies a livelihood empowerment project for the miners, revision of mining laws and law enforcement.
Mr Amewu made the call on Friday in Accra when the staff of the Ministry embarked on a float to register their support for the National Red Friday crusade of Stop Galamsey championed by the Media Coalition against Galamsey and OccupyGhana.
The Coalition declared the day a National Red Friday to rally Ghanaians to demonstrate their rage and anger at illicit mining that had taken a toll on the environment and push harder for total end to the menace.
Mr Amewu said: “Government is not against mining activities in the country but the crusade is for people to conform to rules and regulations guiding mining activities”.
He said through the MMIP, the Ministry would engage the illegal miners and the youth in tree planting activities to reclaim the lands that had been destroyed through mining.
Mrs Barbara Oteng Gyasi, the Deputy Minister of Mines, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency, said it was better to ensure that the right thing was done at the early stages rather than wait till things got out of hand.
“The activities of illegal mining have destroyed our water bodies in Kyebi. A nice state of the art water treatment plant, for instance, has been polluted and we need to restore our water bodies to have adequate drinking water.
“Irrespective of the ban, we have their welfare at hand. The One District One Factory will cover the areas of illegal mining to cater for the miners.
“Palm plantation and the Planting for Food and Jobs are other initiatives taken by the Government to cater for the miners as a result of the ban.
The float, which attracted staff of the Ministry clad in red galamsey-designed T-shirts, marched through some principal streets of Accra amidst brass band music displaying placards some of which read: “Help Stop Galamsey”, “Stop Galamsey and Save Lives”, “Galamsey is destroying our water bodies,”
“Value life, not Gold”, and “Think Right, Mine Right, Live Right”.
The National Red Friday crusade to Stop Galamsey is a platform for Ghanaians to raise their voices against the negative activities of illegal miners and get the Government to put in place measures to restore order in the mining industry.