Ghana Landscape Restoration And Small-Scale Mining Project Virtually Launched (PICS)

The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Dr. Kwaku Afriyie(MP) has launched the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project.

According to him, the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small-Scale Mining Project will be anchored on the achievements and lessons from previous projects implemented in the Savannah drylands and recently completed Sustainable Land and Water Management Project (SLWMP) and the ongoing Forest Investment Programme (FIP).

Speaking at the virtual launch, Dr. Afriyie said "The project will strengthen the country’s systems for integrated natural resources management and increase the benefits to communities in targeted savannah and cocoa forest landscapes"

He added that achieving a better quality of life for people is a fundamental goal of every country with Ghana as no exception.

Dr. Afriyie said "This exemplified in the adoption and implementation of strategies for sustainable economic growth, poverty reduction and attainment of the SDGs"

"To demonstrate our readiness to fully take off, necessary policy and institutional structures have been established in accordance with the project governance arrangements"

"These are Inauguration the Joint Project Steering Committee and Approval of 2022 Work Plan and budgets by the Steering Committee and Establishment of an effective project management platform" he noted.

On his part, the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel A. Jinapor said "Small scale mining, can, and must be done, in a responsible, sustainable and environmentally-sound manner"

"Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small Scale Mining Project (GLRSSMP) is designed to build on these initiatives, to reverse land and forest degradation trends, through improved institutional and regulatory frameworks and integrated landscape management – with a focus on enhancing sustainable agricultural productivity, sustainable Small Scale Mining and sustainable forest and water resource management"

The Minister added that the multi-sectoral approach of the project is an innovative and comprehensive way of dealing with the gamut of issues affecting the small scale mining sector, as well as reducing deforestation and improving agricultural management in Ghana.

Hon. Jinapor stressed that the project will, for example, complement the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme, by supporting the efforts of the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, to geologically investigate designated areas to provide mineable areas for small-scale mining, and resource the Minerals Commission, to effectively regulate the sector.

"It will also contribute to our reclamation efforts, to return degraded mined sites to viable agricultural lands, add green cover and provide employment and income for local communities. Hon. Minister, Mr. Country Director, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, improving natural resource management can contribute significantly towards enhancing rural development and local livelihoods, particularly, women in rural communities, who are the most reliant on natural resources for their livelihoods, and the most vulnerable to the repercussions of resource degradation"

The Minister hinted that government is determined to make the legalisation of artisanal and small scale mining user and gender-friendly, and rid the sector of illegalities.

He urged all implementing agencies, to continue to work in collaboration and in good faith, to ensure the success of the project.

"Together we can, and we must, build and formalise our artisanal and small scale mining sector, to deliver a viable, responsible, sustainable and environmentally-sound small scale mining sector, that contributes to national development without destroying the environment"

"Let me begin by thanking the World Bank Group, led by its affable Country Director, my good friend, Mr. Pierre Laporte, and the Government’s project team, for working tirelessly to see to the launch of this consequential project, the Ghana Landscape Restoration and Small Scale Mining Project, aimed at strengthening integrated natural resource management and increasing benefits to communities in targeted savannah and cocoa forest landscapes"

"Our country has seen rapid economic growth over the past two decades, with significant contributions from renewable and non-renewable natural resources. Gold, alone, provides approximately forty percent (40%) of our export earnings, and accounts for more than ninety percent (90%) of our gross mineral revenues, of which artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) accounts for one-third. This, however, comes at a cost; with mining competing with other sectors, like agriculture and forestry, for land. Indeed, the negative impact of artisanal and small scale mining on our environment has resulted in small scale mining being associated, sadly, with environmental degradation and water pollution"

"We have resourced and retooled the Minerals Commission to effectively perform its regulatory functions, declared River Bodies and Forest Reserves as red zones for mining, launched Operation Halt II to rid the river bodies and Forest Reserves of illegal mining, suspended reconnaissance and prospecting activities in Forest Reserves across the country, and introduced a mercury free gold processing equipment, known as “the Gold Katcha.”

Hon. Jinapor told the gathering that government has revamped Community Mining Scheme, as an alternative to illegal and irresponsible small scale mining, instituted a Small Scale Mining Award Scheme, to encourage and promote responsible, viable, and sustainable small scale mining practices, and launched the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) to provide alternative sources of economic activities, to those who will be affected by our efforts to sanitise the small scale mining industry.

Below are some pictures:

Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith