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Inspectorate Division of Minerals Commission is ineffective – Minister

Inspectorate Division of Minerals Commission is ineffective – Minister

Inspectorate Division of Minerals Commission is ineffective – Minister
Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng

Accra, Aug. 22, GNA – Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI), has said the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals Commission has been ineffective thereby allowing illegal mining to fester in the country.

He said the Inspectorate Division was supposed to supervise the reclamation of mined areas and safety at mining sites but the Office had not been effective for many years.

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng made the disclosure at the inauguration of a 13-member Governing Board of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in Accra.

He, therefore, tasked the Board to institute measures that would make the EPA liaise with the Inspectorate Division of the Commission so that it performed its constitutional mandate effectively to safeguard the environment.

The Minister disclosed that government had established three new mine districts and equipped them with personnel and equipment in order to operate effectively in the bid to control illegal mining.

He said the EPA was the heartbeat of the Ministry, therefore, its potentials must be exploited to the fullest in order to benefit the society.

He noted that the EPA grants permits to mining companies to mine in designated areas and, therefore, charged the Agency to regularly supervise them so that they respect sacred places such as cemeteries.

He said government had suspended issuance of licences to small-scale mining and yet, licences and permits were still being issued and urged the Board to stop it immediately.

“We have suspended issuing licences and permits to small-scale mining and you’re still issuing permits and licences, and sometimes it’s very embarrassing,” he emphasised.

Commenting on the siting of fuel stations at unauthorised places, the Minister said it was the responsibility of the National Petroleum Commission to site fuel stations while the EPA was supposed to inspect the area to assess whether it was suitable for that purpose before granting permit to the developer.

He, therefore, charged the two institutions to collaborate to ensure that fuel stations were not sited in places that could pose danger to the people.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei, the Deputy Minister of MESTI, on her part, said the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) must critically look into the siting of fuel stations by creating space for that purpose so that it did not pose danger to residents.

She urged the MMDAs and the Town and Country Planning Department to collaborate to ensure that the land use and spatial planning processes were duly followed so as to avoid chaotic siting of fuel stations.

“As a nation we have reached a stage where we need to re-think about our development critically and use our space appropriately,” she stressed.

Mr Kwesi Enyam, the Board Chairman, on behalf of the members, expressed profound appreciation to the President for the confidence reposed in them and assured that they would work diligently to achieve their mandate.

He said the Board was determined to assist the government in resolving the EPA’s human capacity, financial and operational challenges as well as the environmental challenges posed by the activities of illegal miners.

Meanwhile, Dr Toni Aubynn, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, had been asked by government to proceed on leave.

Source: GNA