Following the launch of a new Community Mining Scheme (CMS) programme, about 3,000 residents of Atronso in the Bibiani Anhwiaso Bekwai Municipal Assembly of the Western North Region of Ghana are in line for employment.
The Atronso-Ampenkrom CMS, which would also serve nearby communities, was launched by the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, on Friday.
The Scheme is expected to create 2,000 direct jobs and 1000 indirect jobs for the residents.
Speaking at the launch, Mr Duker said despite the current economic challenges facing the country, the government was focused on creating jobs through a more responsible and sustainable mining model.
The CMS, he explained, was one of the initiatives by the government to sanitize the small-scale mining sector to ensure the country realized the associated benefits.
“As a government, we are committed to sanitizing the small-scale mining sector so that the enormous benefits it offers the country are achieved.
That is why the government is tightening regulations and introducing initiatives, such as the CMS, to ensure the sector is formalized and well-managed,” Mr Duker stated.
The small-scale mining sector, he explained, was crucial to the development and transformation of the country’s economy, adding that it was currently providing employment to more than one million Ghanaians.
The large-scale mining companies, which have significantly higher investments, however, he said, employed over 30,000 Ghanaians.
The Deputy Minister noted that the government had remained steadfast in sanitizing the sector instead of placing a ban on it despite repeated calls to do so.
He cautioned the community and its leadership against allowing foreign involvement in the CMS and also urged them to protect the water bodies in the area.
Mr Duker called for collaborative efforts from the public to enable the implementation of government measures to protect the country’s mineral resources.
Among other things, he said, the government had recruited 300 river guards to provide permanent patrol on water bodies, procured speedboats for patrol on water bodies and the registration and tracking of all earth-moving equipment in the country.
Nana Kwabena Appiah II, Akwamuhene of Sefwi- Bekwai Traditional Council, advised the government to ensure the community mining projects being inaugurated in the various mining regions did not end up destroying water bodies and farmlands.