Mireku Duker engages Chiefs, DCE, stakeholders in Shama District on developing Clay Mining Industry

Wed, 20 Oct 2021 Source: www.ghanaweb.com

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George Mireku Duker, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines has held consultative dialogues with stakeholders in the Shama District on ways to tackle illegal clay winning.

The stakeholder engagement saw the Deputy Minister hold talks with traditional rulers, DCE for Shama, Small Scale Miners and other key institutions in the district.

Throughout the meetings, George Mireku Duker was consistent with the government’s goal of combating illegal clay mining and regulating the industry to ensure that the harmful effects on the environment and communities are curbed.

He also used the opportunity to solicit views from some institutions and persons in the district on how government can turn around the dwindling fortunes of the clay mining industry.

Courtesy call on Acting President of Shama Traditional Area

In line with traditions and customs, the first institution to be engaged on the matter was chietaincy institution through Nana Kwame Wienu II, the acting president of the Shama Traditional Area.

George Mireku Duker disclosed to the chief and residents of the area, the concerns of government with respect to clay mining and ways it can curbed.

He placed particular emphasis on the need to regularize the industry as well as the importance of the miners forming an association to advance their collective interest.

“God has blessed us with resources and more specifically your area is blessed with rich clay. It has been decades since they started exploiting clay in your area but of what benefit has it been to you. This why we are putting in place measures to ensure that we enjoy benefit from the resource.

“We’ve realized that most of the companies who mine the clay do so illegally. Those buying do so without recourse to regulation. We are here to speak to them to get license to regulate their activities and also form an association so that they will have powerful voice and negotiate their appropriate price.

“There must also be reclamation plans because their activities have effect on the land so we need to have plans on how we’ll reclaim the land. So we’re here to engage with them on how we can improve the clay business”, he said.

The Paramount Chief, Nana Kwame Wienuu II described as an honor, the visit by hon. George Mireku Duker and his entourage.

The Chief commended the government for indicating its preparedness to help regulate the clay-mining industry and protect the environment.

He said that years of indiscriminate and unregulated activities have plunged some communities into deep trouble and therefore welcomes the initiative by government.

Meeting with DCE of Shama

Having followed custom by meeting the traditional head of the area, George Mireku Duker once again exhibited deep appreciation of local governance architecture by calling on the political head of the district.

The Deputy Minister and his delegation played guests to the DCE of Shama, Hon. Ebenezer Dadzie with the conversations focusing on how the district assembly can help government rid the sector of the numerous challenges and promote investor confidence in safe clay practices.

He urged the DCE and the assembly to take immediate steps to license all companies in the clay-mining business who are operating without authorization.

“Information available to me indicates all the companies mining clay are not licensed. It is very unfortunate to hear this. I have said that I’m for mining so I’m against banning it but the mining should be responsible. Responsible mining is one that is regulated", he said.

“Mining clay has been ongoing for decades and I’m sure this is the first time the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources has come down to this level to engage on improving the industry. I’m here to solicit your views on how we can Mine without harming our society", he added.

On his part, the DCE noted that “We need to change because the current situation will not help us. The Deputy Minister is here to help us find ways of streamlining the processes so that we can all enjoy the full benefit of mining. It is my hope that we’ll all be committed to this cause", he concluded.

Engagement with DISEC

For effective applications of the laws and monitoring of concessions to ensure strict adherence to the safe mining protocols, the District Security Coordinating Council will have to armed with information and resources to execute same.

It is in the light of this that Mireku Duker held separate forum with the District Security Council (DISEC) of Shama Assembly to exhort their minds to the task ahead.

He reminded them of the security threat that illegal clay mining poses to the Shama area and Ghana as a society.

He said that new rules being implemented by government in that industry, entrust the security in the district with the responsibility of ensuring that owners of concessions adhere strictly to the rules.

Concerns of small-scale miners

Like every good leader, the hon. Mireku Duker gave room for the small-scale miners to seek clarifications and demand more answers from government on how it plans to regulate sector.

In a very hearty yet crucial exercise, some of the miners took turns to quiz the minister on his plans for the sector and how those initiatives will serve local interest.

George Mireku took time to explain in detail then intentions of government and assured that local interest will reign supreme in the exploitation of the resource.

Mireku Duker was in the company of the Deputy CEO of the Minerals Commission, Technical Director of the Ministry on Mines and other officials from the Ministry.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com