The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Kwasi Kyeremeh, has assured that government will do what it can to protect and promote small-scale gold and salt mining industries.
He said the small-scale gold and salt mining industries are good prospects to the development of the country and government would give them the keen attention they deserved.
The Minister gave the assurance in a speech read on his behalf at the National Conference on Artisanal and Small-scale gold and salt mining in Ghana, said the Multi-Lateral Mining Policy would help promote the small-scale mining industry.
The policy among others seeks to revamp small-scale mining and help reclaim land destroyed by illegal mining.
It was organised by Third Network Africa, a civil society organisation and sponsored by Star Ghana.
Attended by players in the artisanal, small-scale and salt mining, it was to come out with strategies and solutions to promote small-scale mining in the country.
Mr Kyeremeh observed that small-scale mining contributed immensely to employment and poverty reduction and revenue generation.
The sector, he said created one million direct employment and three million indirect employment.
The Minister further said small-scale mining contributed to other sectors of the economy.
Mr Kyeremeh expressed worry about the activities of some of the small-scale miners which degraded the land, pollute rivers and destroy the environment.
Some of the operators, he said used the industry to evade tax and embark on other nefarious activities.
It was to address the aforementioned issues and streamline the industry that government put a moratorium on small-scale mining.
On salt mining, the Minister said the intention of government was to develop the sector and use it as a catalyst to develop other sectors of the economy.
Mr Kyeremeh disclosed that government was working to implement the Mineral Development Fund to promote the mining industry.
He said the salt industry would play pivotal role in the Integrated Aluminium Industry being establish by the government.
The Executive Director of Third Network Africa, Dr Yao Graham said the necessary attention must be given to small-scale mining as being done to big-scale mining.
He said operators in the small-scale mining industry were being displaced by large-scale mining companies.
Dr Graham said the small-scale mining industry should be integrated into the larger mining industry.
“The profile of the artisanal small-scale mining should be raised to contribute to national development,” he said.
Dr Graham said the outcome of the conference would be put into a policy roundtable to be held by the Third Network Africa.
By Kingsley Asare