Small scale mining to remain to remain banned until…..

Prof. Frimpong Boateng(middle) addressing the media.With him are Ms. Carol Annang(right) and Mr. Godwin Amarh(left),General Secretary of Small Scale Miners.Photo;M

Prof. Frimpong Boateng(middle) addressing the media.With him are Ms. Carol Annang(right) and Mr. Godwin Amarh(left),General Secretary of Small Scale Miners

Government would not lift the current ban on small scale mining until there was an assurance that mining activities would be undertaken in a sustainable way, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science and Technology has said.

He said the small-scale miners must equally reclaim all the lands they have degraded before any consideration would be given for them to go back to mining.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said this at a media briefing yesterday to announce a joint capacity building workshop for both media practitioners and small-scale miners to be undertaken by the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT) Tarkwa

The capacity workshop being sponsored by the government with an amount of GH¢500,000 was meant to build the capacity of the small-scale mining to undertake responsible mining while equipping the media practitioners to do a thorough investigative and due diligence reportage on mining activities.

Present at the meeting were the leaderships of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, the Association of Small Scale Miners who took turns to add input to the current disposition towards engaging stakeholders in the industry.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said in order to promote sustainable mining, the government wanted a paradigm shift from allowing miners to engage in prospecting for gold, adding that the Geological Survey Department would rather do the prospecting for potential gold areas after which licence could be issued to the miners to do mining at those specific areas.

He said these measures were meant to curb indiscriminate prospecting for gold which ultimately led to the land degradation.

He said the Inspectorate Division of Minerals Commission with its ineffectiveness to carry out its mandate would be structured and equipped with the necessary logistics to enable them carry out their role of inspecting mining sites regularly and effectively.

Prof. Frimpong Boateng said the inspectorate division would also be divided into three divisions to have effective supervisory role throughout all the mining sites in the country to ensure safe and sustainable mining activities.

With regards to the training programme, he said in all about 1000 persons from both the media and the small scale miners would be trained at the UMAT in batches between July and August when the University was on recess.

Mr Godwin Armah, secretary to the small scale miners appealed to government to lift the ban on mining since the small scale miners operating under legal framework were currently in financial hardship as a results of having to pay for investments in machinery and human resource.

He said the association has taken urgent steps to ensure that activities of small-scale mining in no way endanger the livelihood of communities as well as scale up the turbidity of the water bodies.

Mr Armah said the association would continue to engage government to see how best sustainable and responsible mining operations were carried out by their members.

He assured the government that the association remained committed to engaging in mining activities that would not degrade the land and minimise impact of mining operations in the country.

By Lawrence Markwei

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