The Government of Ghana, acting through the newly established National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP), has reclaimed over 1,000 hectares of land from illegal miners in the Western North Region.
Carol Louise Donkor, the national co-ordinator of the programme, visited some of the areas being taken care of by Dredge Masters, a subsidiary of the Jospong Group of Companies (JGC).
The company has successfully reclaimed 450 hectares of land in the region from illegal miners (popularly known as galamseyers).
Donkor stressed that the NAELP is designed to alleviate the hardship faced by people adversely affected by the activity of illegal miners. It is also in line with the government’s efforts to sanitise mining in Ghana.
The programme also a community mining scheme which presents a model for small-scale mining in the country. She said the project will create jobs for over 2,000 young Ghanaians living in the affected areas, who will be engaged to help replant the lands.
It was against this backdrop that the government contracted Dredge Masters in 2021 to help reclaim 414 hectares of galamsey lands in Asawinso A and B, Sefwi, Mepasem and Antobia, all in the Western North Region.
Speaking to reporters, the project manager for Dredge Masters, Ing Bernard Asumeng Adjei Siaw, said the project is 90% complete.
The company won a contract to reclaim 414 hectares of illegal mining lands, he said.
“But as it stands now, we have even exceeded the total hectares that we needed to reclaim. We have now done about 450 hectares in total.”
Ing Asumeng Siaw said the land reclamation was one component of the project, and after that, the company will move to phase two of the project, which involves replanting trees on the reclaimed land.
Asumeng Siaw commended the government for its efforts to reclaim land damaged by illegal miners.
“The Government of Ghana has done very good work. It has invested hugely to ensure that these lands damaged by galamseyers are reclaimed and put to more productive use,” he said.
He appealed to the chiefs in the Western North Region to support the government to ensure that illegal miners do not return to the lands after they have been reclaimed.
Pointing out some of the challenges of the project, the site manager for Dredge Masters, Gilbert Atima, asked that the various communities on the reclaimed lands be involved in the tree-planting phase of the project.
A technical officer for the NAELP, Daniel Fordjour Agyemang, said the programme has a plan in place which will involve all stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the economic trees that will be planted on the lands.
“In no time, we will roll all this out for the community to benefit,” he said.
The chairman of small-scale miners in Juaboso, King George, said the NAELP has been beneficial to miners in the Western North.