Uncovered mine pits at unregulated sites have not only caused damage to the environment but also resulted in a number of accidents and deaths.
The pits which are usually left uncovered by illegal miners are the reason government has launched the land reclamation project as part of efforts to mitigate the devastating effect of ‘galamsey’.
President Akufo-Addo announced on his Twitter handle said some successes his administration has chalked in the Lands and Natural resources sector.
These include the full operationalisation of the Land Reclamation Policy and the intensification of the ban on illegal mining.
“In the Land and Natural Resources sector, we discovered iron ore in commercial quantities, operationalised fully the Land Reclamation Policy and intensified the fight against illegal mining (galamsey),” he wrote.
But Chief Executive Officer of the African Institute of Extractives Industries, Dr. Tony Aubyn, has questioned the President’s claim.
The former Executive Secretary of the Minerals Commission rates the government 5 out of 10 in its performance in the mining sector in the year under review.
“The pace is extremely slow. If we go along this same pace, I’m afraid, we won’t get anywhere because we’re talking about almost every part in the southern part of Ghana and some part in the Northern region and these are significant devastations.”
“I think it’s good to start but I think it’s quite slow and we cannot tout it as a full-blown rehabilitation. It’s very difficult [to rate the government in the Lands and Natural Resources sector], especially when I haven’t had time to do that analysis but I think there’s a long way to go.”
Meanwhile, the International Union for Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), which recently established a project office in the country, hopes to liaise with the Lands and Natural Resources to help restore many of the challenges in the sector, particularly the illegal mining menace.
The IUCN, in 2005, started the development of forest projects in Ghana which has grown over the years with current ongoing projects in the country focused on forest landscapes restoration and governance, especially with linkages to improving biodiversity, community livelihoods and climate change.