Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu has blasted former President John Mahama, describing him as a conman.

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According to Mr Mahama, "it is true that if we don’t do something about it, it will destroy the environment. But we need to apply wisdom because we’ve chased young people involved in illegal small-scale mining with soldiers in the past in this country, but it didn’t work.”

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In response Monday evening, Mr Amewu said the government has created 12 mining districts and 33 satellite districts.

He told Accra-based Citi FM: “What has Mahama been able to do? Today, we have created a lot of mining districts, we’ve created 12 mining districts and 33 satellite districts. We are bringing mining back to the decentralization level. The small-scale mining which was in the status quo was supposed to have mining communities.

"These were not inaugurated in all the years Mahama was President, we have just inaugurated them, bringing mining to the community of the owners of the resources. Decentralization, this is the approach, so I am so disappointed in [Mahama].

"He cannot address the problems. I’m telling the small-scale miners that this gentleman is a con man. He’s deceiving them and if they dare go in for him just because of galamsey, this country will come down.”

He also disclosed that a comprehensive mining policy has been developed and it is awaiting the signature of the President.

Unlike John Mahama, Mr Awemu said, President Akufo-Addo has an alternative to address small-scale mining.

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He said: “The document has been laid. We’re waiting for the President to come, immediately he comes, this document is going to be approved and that is the way forward…They should follow the honest man in this world, the most honest person who is ruling this country. Nana Akufo-Addo has the alternative to address the small-scale mining and we will do that, not President Mahama, he has failed.”

Government last year imposed a sweeping ban on illegal and small scale mining owing to the destruction of the country's environment and water bodies.