The Commodity Monitor, a tech-based business organisation has called on the government not to ban small scale mining, but find alternative solutions to curb its negative activities.
The Director, Strategy and Operations, Commodity Monitor, Ms Martha Amoako, made the call yesterday, when representatives from the company paid a courtesy call on the Editor of The Ghanaian Times News Paper to discuss how the Gold Kacha Machine could be used in small scale mining without any side effect.
She said an appropriate and alternative technology such as the GoldKacha system should be promoted and accepted by small scale miners.
The Gold Kacha is a mercury-free machine made of a jaw crusher that crushes bigger rocks from 40 millimetres (mm) and above, to three millimetres.
It further crushes the particles into 100 microns, and a concentrator or gold catcher (kacha), where the fine gold particles washed and aggregated.
According her, there was the need for an efficient and the right technology in the small-scale mining sector to promote and reap the benefits associated with mining.
She said small-scale mining had been there and would continue to be there but should be done the right way, adding that the miners should be educated, “mining started not today, now people will do everything including risking their lives in order to earn money”.
Ms Amoako expressed worry about the activities of illegal miners such as the use of Chan fans, and mercury into river bodies affecting food production and other arable lands.
“With small-scale mining, unappropriated methods such as the use mercury is mixed with gold-containing materials to form a mercury-gold amalgam, heated, and the mercury vapourises to obtain the gold and this process is very dangerous as it leads to significant mercury exposure and poses health risks.”
“The health implication is serious, it has been noticed that women and children are often used to crush the rocks. They just use hammer and crush it manually so they inhale dust a lot which affect their respiratory system,” she said.
She said the mercury-free machine could help miners recover a minimum of 90 per cent purity of the gold, adding that machines had crushers and run on a pond system, therefore, did not need to operate on river bodies.
Ms Amoako said the machines come with a Polytank or a pond where the water flows into it and recycled.
This, she said would prevent miners from mining directly in water bodies and also help save the environment from pollution.
Mr David Agbenu, Editor of The Ghanaian Times newspaper, also expressed worry about the devastating nature of the activities of illegal miners and said the outfit would do its best to clamp down the menace.
“We are all worried about the menace, though we are in Accra what we eat comes from where the illegal activities are and this could have health issues,” he said.
He said the media would continue to carry out stories that would educate and create awareness on the need to stop such illegal activities.
BY AGNES OPOKU SARPONG