Small-scale miners who are still engaging in illegal activities have received a stern warning from Ghana’s Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Lawyer Samuel Abdulai Jinapor, that when they are detected, the government apparatus will be unleashed and go after them ruthlessly.
He issued this strong warning today in Accra as he handed the leadership of the Ghanaian Small-Scale Miners Association 95 small-scale mining certificates proving that those businesses have complied with all responsible mining standards.
“We are aware that some miners continue to mine illegally on rivers and in our forest at night and park their machines during the day, even though these areas have been designated as red zones. I must say that when we locate them, we will deal with them ruthlessly.”
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment to making Ghana an African mining hub where mining is a full-cycle process from prospecting to raw material refinement. However, it was also stated that for the president’s plan to become a reality, all parties must work together, including small-scale miners.
Approximately 40% of the nation’s total gold production, according to the ministry, is attributed to small-scale mining, which also employs more than a million people. The industry, however, suffered when the government imposed limitations on their operations as a result of the contamination of certain significant rivers in Ghana and the clearing of protected areas and forest reserves, particularly in the Western and Ashanti parts of the nation.
“The applications were compiled by the leadership of the small-scale miners through a very rigorous process including a peer review vetting, vetting by the Minerals Commission, and another vetting by a team at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources headed by the Deputy Minister in charge of mining Mr Mireku Duker,” Lawyer Jinapor revealed.
The minister mentioned the many difficulties facing the industry, including what he called people’s obstinacy in working around the rules. The issues, he continued, can only be overcome by a concerted effort from all sector parties.
“The sector is being reformed on two main pillars. First is reformation which is all the measures we’ve put in place through the Minerals Commission, easing the method of securing permits, enforcing the regulatory architecture of the Minerals Commission, and ensuring that geological investigations are ramped up, the concept of community mining among other measures,” he added.
It would recall that the government, through the Ministry, ordered 100 pieces of mercury-free machinery to aid miners in their work and to help the nation meet the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The government is also taking steps to ensure long-term solutions to the threat of water pollution caused by the activities of illegal and small-scale miners, according to the deputy minister for lands and natural resources, Mr Mireku Duker, who said river wardens will soon be seen patrolling the nation’s rivers.
“The minerals Commission also under the directive of the sector minister has also started the implementation of MCAS. MCAS is to sit at a village in Damongo and apply for a concession without going through any hectic bureaucratic processes.”
The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners Mr Godwin Armah committed to ensuring that the awardees comply with all the requirements in the mining manual to avoid their licences being revoked.
www.zamireports.com | Accra.