The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. George Mireku Duker has charged District Assemblies to urgently put in place adequate measures to check encroachment of quarry sites.
This, he said, was necessary to forestall fatal incidents that could result from the exploration of granites and protect the operations of quarry businesses in the country.
Addressing members of the quarry operators at Afigya Kwabre South District in the Ashanti Region on Thursday, 10th March 2022, Hon. Duker tasked the operators to take measures to secure their concessions.
He underscored the important role of the quarry industry to Ghana’s economy by accentuating that the continuous encroachment on quarry sites by unaccredited persons and institutions thwarts the effort of the government in raising revenue for the industry and the country.
He thus declared war on encroachment of quarry site and warned that any person or organization found to have acted in contravention of the laws and regulations will not be spared.
“It is really important for us to protect our natural resources. We are all yearning for development projects but how can we do it without our stones. If you encroach, how do we get them. If the assembly wants to build schools and you encroach, how do we resolve that. Where are they going to get the stones?”
“Let’s come together as an association and a country to protect and prevent encroachment on these concessions,” he said.
Hon. Duker also disclosed that the government as part of plans to increase local participation in the mining industry has agreed with some banks to set up a special unit designated to provide financial assistance to Ghanaian investors in the mining sector.
This, he said will erase the phenomenon of Ghanaians fronting foreigners in the small-scale mining industry.
He further cautioned that after all these steps, the government will not condone any act of illegality by any Ghanaian or foreigner.
“I agree mining is capital intensive and that you may involve foreign nationals but with small-scale mining, the law abhors foreigners from engaging in it. Small-scale mining is the preserve of Ghanaians.
If you are a foreigner, you are only allowed to mine in the large-scale industry, he added.
“Those who have been fronting for foreigners in the small-scale industry must stop immediately because our law frowns on it. The very act that guides us frowns on Ghanaians fronting for foreigners. The only excuse they give is the lack of adequate funds and that is why we have negotiated with banks to have a dedicated unit called the Mineral Development Unit to assist individuals who want to mine,” he concluded.
The District Chief Executive of Afigya Kwabre South Mr. Christian Adu Poku bemoaned the encroachment of concessions in the area whiles lamenting the situation, he also outlined steps taken so far by his outfit to deal with the situation.
He warned that Ghana risks losing out ‘billions of dollars’ if punitive actions are not instituted to prevent encroachment of concessions.
The Chairman of the Northern chapter of the Ghana Quarry Operators Association, Mr. Adu Tutu Gyamfi tasked the government to take drastic measures to stop what he described as ‘’attack on quarry concession’