Mr Benjamin Aryee, the Advisor on Mining at the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, said more efficient equipment are needed to scale up artisanal small-scale mining (ASM),to reduce cost and increase profit from the sector.
He said for the country to be able to play in the international market, there must be a deliberate effort to increase the efficiency through large scale production but also make provisions for artisanal and small-scale miners.
Mr Aryee was speaking at a policy dialogue on artisanal and small-scale salt and gold production organised by the Third World Network (TWN) – Africa on Tuesday, as part of its ASM salt and gold programme initiated in 2017 and sponsored by Star Ghana.
Mr Aryee said the country was among those with high-quality salt in the world and this required effective refining to increase revenue for the country, adding that there was the need for massive industrial production.
Commenting on the recently introduced community mining concept, Mr Aryee said it was true that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining circulated a form for interested community folks to complete towards granting them access to mine, but those forms were not to guarantee that anyone should apportion compartments for onward mining.
He said the arrangement for the community would see the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources apportioning some lands and dedicate them for small-scale mining and part of it could be used for community mining where large groups of people would come together and be licensed for community mining.
Dr Yao Graham, the Coordinator for TWN-Africa, said to tackle the issue of illegal mining in the country, there was the need for more long term, sustainable and multifaceted approach to dealing with the menace because it had become the livelihood for most of the people involved.
He said there were also a number of big criminal gangs involved in the illegal small-scale mining menace, which required a better differentiation of the actors in the sector for better targeting and management.
Presenting recommendations on a stakeholder dialogue on ASM of salt held earlier, Mr Graham said there was the need to reflect on a paradigm shift from minerals for revenue to minerals for transformation and development.
He said there was the need for government and politicians to desist from undermining statutory roles of mining regulatory agencies and that the all such institutions should be resourced for effective support to ASM.
He said the dominance of ASM producers in the salt industry represented an opportunity for an employment and rural development centred approach to the expansion and development of the industry’s potential, especially around the Songhor and Keta Lagoons.
Dr Graham said at the moment, ASM salt producers were being faced with numerous challenges in the areas of production, marketing, technical (quality), financing and management, adding that there was the need to improve data collection and dissemination on salt production through research. GNA