Land and natural resources minister, John Peter Amewu, has stated that the three weeks ultimatum given to illegal miners, popularly known as galamsey to vacate as their concessions will not be extended.
According to him, extending the ultimatum by even a day means more pollution of water bodies and depletion of farm lands and forests.
The ultimatum, meant to halt all illegal gold mining activities until a more sustainable way of extraction of the mineral was developed, expires on Thursday.
Mr. Amewu was responding to request by galamseyers from the Amenfi West, Amenfi East, Amenfi Central and Prestea Huni-Valley districts of the Western Region for extension of the deadline.
They argued it will give them more time to demobilize from their sites, and reclaim the depleted lands, by filling the huge holes created by their activities.
The Minister reiterated in an interview with The Ghanaian Times at Adina in the Ketu South District oft eh Volta Region, that “We are not going to consider that at all because demobilization should not take more than a day and we have given them three weeks which is enough for them to demobilize.”
According to him, the ultimatum was yielding results as more than 160 excavators, used for the illegal mining, have been moved from the various sites.
The minister said that statistics from the Precious Minerals Marketing Company indicated a downward trend in the sale of small scaled gold brought to the company.
Government, he said, was not against small scale mining, but was against persons doing it illegally polluting water bodies in the process and threatening the country’s water security.
Mr. Amewu said “What we are saying is that the mode by which some of these activities are being undertaken do not conform with the regulatory framework that allow them to do it.”
The minister indicated that “We are going to give a framework that allows Ghanaians to mine in a more sustainable manner…there are some small scale miners who if you go to their sites, are doing the right thing. Their sites are clean and they are operating in a manner that everybody will like.”
This category of miners, Mr. Amewu said are not targeted in the three weeks ultimatum.
Asked what punitive measures were there for people who would disobey the ultimatum, the minister said “you just wait. You will see what action we will take after the deadline.”