When Ghana’s Lands and Natural Resources Minister Lawyer Samuel A. Jinapor met with the leadership of the Association of Small-scale Miners in Bolgatanga in the Upper East region, he had a few words, “Regulate each other’s activities.”
The Minister urged the leadership to be resolute to ensure some sanity in the mining sector while revealing the government’s commitment to resolving teething coexistence issues between small-scale miners and large scale industries in the region.
“We need to ensure peer regulation, you regulate one another and when somebody is doing the wrong thing, you draw the person’s attention and make sure that the right thing is done.”
On the list of concerns by the leadership of the small-scale miners was the issue of unemployment for the youth in the mining communities due to the operations of Shaanxi Mining Company Limited.
“We don’t have concessions and that has rendered our youth jobless and this could begin a security threat in the region,” a small-scale miner opined.
Shaanxi Mining Company Limited, a subsidiary of China Gold Resources Group Company Limited in 2013 commenced the provision of technical support services to the Yenyeya Small and Porbotaaba Small Scale Mining Groups in the Gbane community of the Upper East region. It later assumed underground mining operations and remained the only mining company in the region. Now Earl International Group Gold Limited, the underground mining company has acquired some 16. 02 Square kilometre concession that covers areas that used to serve as concessions for indigenes with a production life span of 14 years.
Cardinal Namdini Gold Mining Company has also commenced mining operations in the district, adding to two, the number of mining companies in the Talensi district.
But the leadership of the Association of Small-scale Miners want government to expedite its mining sector reforms including the community mining programme to serve as an alternative source of livelihood for the youth.
Reacting to the concerns raised, Mr. Jinapor urged the miners to stick to dialogue for an amicable resolution of the impasse that has spanned at least five years.
“Your concerns are legitimate and steps are being taken to address these concerns. And what is most important is that we develop a framework of engagement between your outfit and the Minerals Commission because the truth is that we will not have all th solutions, some of them may come from you, and they may turn out to be more useful than even our thinking.”
“But most important is the collaboration, interaction, and engagement between all sides,” he urged the miners.
The sector minister also craved their cooperation in safeguarding the minerals resources discovered in the region. They include gold, granite, and ore.
“This is an infant mining industry and is still in its evolution stage and my dream is that we work together so that the industry will become beneficial to the population here,” he emphasized.
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