John Mahama Calls for New Law To Protect Cocoa Farms and Water Bodies from Mining at Transformation Dialogue.

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Former President John Dramani Mahama has called for a significant legislative push to protect cocoa farms and water bodies from the adverse impacts of mining.

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Transformation Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining at the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, Mahama outlined his vision for a sustainable and responsible mining sector in Ghana.

Addressing a diverse audience of academics, policymakers, and industry stakeholders, Mahama emphasized the critical need for a holistic approach to tackle the ongoing environmental degradation caused by illegal mining, commonly known as galamsey.

“We must protect the destruction of cocoa farms for mining and effectively ban the issuance of entry permits into forests,” he asserted, stressing the urgency of prohibiting mining activities in water bodies to preserve these vital resources.

Mahama highlighted the significant contributions of mining to Ghana’s economy, but also pointed out the severe consequences of unregulated mining activities.

“Our rivers and lands have been polluted, our forests destroyed, and our people left without clean water and fertile land,” he lamented. He called for a collective effort to develop and implement policies that prioritize sustainable mining practices and hold those engaged in illegal mining accountable.

In his speech, Mahama presented several key initiatives aimed at reforming the small-scale mining sector. He proposed the establishment of district mining offices across mining areas in Ghana, staffed by officers from the Minerals Commission, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and other relevant agencies.

These offices would streamline the application process for mining licenses and ensure greater transparency and efficiency. Additionally, Mahama announced plans to amend the Minerals and Mining Act to decentralize the licensing regime, granting district mining offices the legal mandate to issue mining licenses.

This move is expected to increase the number of regulated small-scale mining companies and create employment opportunities, particularly for the youth.

Recognizing the environmental impact of mining, Mahama called for the rehabilitation and restoration of areas affected by illegal mining He proposed investing in renewable energy sources and incorporating technological innovations to monitor and regulate the small-scale mining sector effectively.

“We will introduce and encourage technological innovation to improve capacity for coordinated monitoring of the small-scale mining sector and reduce environmental impact,” he stated, highlighting the use of Al to track mining operations and ensure compliance with regulations.

Mahama also emphasized the importance of community involvement and the formation of mining cooperatives to enable local communities to organize themselves and receive government support for sustainable mining practices.

He proposed initiatives to convert degraded lands into commercial crop production zones, such as palm oil and rubber plantations, funded through special fees and contributions from stakeholders.

The former President’s speech resonated with many attendees, who acknowledged the need for decisive action to protect Ghana’s natural resources and promote sustainable development in the mining sector.

As the dialogue concluded, there was a renewed sense of optimism and determination to address the challenges facing small-scale mining and ensure the preservation of Ghana’s environmental heritage.

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