Odiamono Ntri Twum Barimah II, the Kontihene of the Denkyira Traditional Area, has observed that the ban on small-scale mining has brought trading and other economic activities in the area on their knees.
Odiamono Twum Barimah, who is also the Chief of Badua, said the ban had brought untold hardship on the residents and appealed to the government to consider lifting the ban.
He said there were licensed small-scale miners in the area who had been deprived of their livelihoods due to the moratorium, and asked the government to expedite action towards implementing the alternative livelihoods programmes so that they could get alternative source of income.
The government, on assumption of office last year, placed a six-month moratorium on all forms of small-scale mining nationwide, in order to sanitise the mining industry in view of the vicious cycle of environmental degradation, which had polluted major water bodies and destroyed the natural vegetation.
It extended the ban for another three months after the expiration of the six months, thereby incurring the wrath of members of the National Small-Scale Miners Association and those whose livelihood depended on mining.
Odiamono Twum Barimah made the appeal when the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu and his entourage paid a courtesy call on the Denkyira Traditional Council at Dunkwa-On-Offin in the Central Region.
The Minister, who was accompanied by Benito Owusu-Bio, a Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources and other officials of the Ministry, was on a two-working visit to the Central and Ashanti Regions to inspect some alternative livelihoods projects being implemented by the government.
Odiamono Twum Barimah said the people in the area were ready to embrace the government’s Palm Seedling Plantation project intended to offer alternative source of income for them, noting that he had personally nursed about 50,000 palm seedlings meant for cultivation.
The Chief lamented the bad road networks in the area and cited Praso to Cape Coast road, which was in a deplorable condition and appealed to the government to pay attention to it, in order to bolster socio-economic activities in the area.
He also expressed worry about the occupation of the community senior high school building at Kyekyewire by members of the Operation Vanguard and asked the government to implore upon the soldiers and police personnel to vacate the facility.
Mr Amewu gave the assurance that the government would lift the ban on small-scale mining in due course, noting that it was carefully following the road map leading to the lifting, and asked them to exercise patience.
He said government was not against mining, but wanted mining to be conducted in a sustainable manner, hence it sponsored the nursing of two million palm seedlings, which would be distributed to the artisanal small-scale miners who had been rendered jobless by the ban free of charge so that they would have alternative source of income.
The Minister said the government was committed to developing every part of the country and assured that the bad roads in the area would be fixed in due course.
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA