Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources for Ghana, Mr Benito Owusu-Bio, says more than $7 billion worth of gold obtained from illegal mining activities was smuggled from Ghana in 2016.
Addressing the leadership of the new government in Ghana New Patriotic Party (NPP), Mr Owusu-Bio said a substantial quantity of the gold was allegedly smuggled by foreigners who had gone to the mining sites to buy the mineral.
Mr Owusu-Bio described as unacceptable the situation where a whopping $7 billion worth of gold could be smuggled from Ghana without the state earning a dime from it.
The purchase of gold at mining sites, he said, was an affront to the laws of the country and deprived the nation of much-needed revenue for development.
At a press conference in 2016, indigenous gold dealers expressed concern over the purchase of gold by some Chinese and Indians at mining sites.
As part of efforts to sanitise the mining industry, the deputy minister said, the laws governing small-scale mining would be strictly enforced to ensure that no foreigner went to the sites either to mine or buy gold.
He said laid down procedures would be followed to ensure that the country’s mineral resources were exploited in a sustainable manner that would not damage the environment.
Mr Owusu-Bio explained that the ban placed on small-scale mining was part of the measures to contain the alarming rate of gold smuggling.