THE MAJORITY Leader of the Parliament and Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Osei Kyei-Mensah Bonsu, is urging the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to tweak the Minerals and Mining Act to give the Traditional Authorities and the various Assemblies maximum power as possible to control mining concessions.
According to him, this process will complement the government’s efforts to combat illegal mining operations.
The Suame Member of Parliament (MP) made this suggestion during an interview on Ashh Fm’s National Agenda show in Kumasi.
He expressed concern over the alarming rate of pollution of water bodies and killing of innocent persons caused by illegal mining and other human activities close to river banks and argued that immediate action was required to stop the threat.
Hon Mensah-Bonsu urged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to join forces with the Traditional Authorities and the Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to take decisive actions against illegal mining (galamsey), which has led to the contamination of water bodies.
‘Since the Timber Resources Management Act was changed to require anyone with a license for a timber concession to obtain the Assembly’s and the Traditional Authorities’ consent before going to the site, the timber industry has benefited”, he stated.
“Additionally, this act when tweaked will help the community hold those miners accountable if they fail to uphold their corporate social responsibilities.’’ the leader added.
He said, overcoming the canker of environmental degradation and pollution required the commitment of everyone, including the chiefs and the assemblies.
The Parliamentary Affairs Minister also stated that, ‘Assemblies and Chiefs cannot combat illegal mining without the necessary power, so I will discuss with the Minister responsible for Lands and Natural Resources, who I know will understand, and tweak the act to make the Local authorities powerful.’
By Michael Ofosu-Afriyie