The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel A. Jinapor, is urging large-scale mining companies to use their skills and expertise to help promote responsible and sustainable small-scale mining practices.
As active and beneficial stakeholders in the mining industry, he said, it was critical that the two sectors co-exist and work together to protect the environment.
Speaking at the opening of a three-day Artisanal and Small-scale Gold mining workshop in Accra yesterday, the Minister said, Ghana could not have an aspect of the industry promoting environmentally-sound practices, while the other was destroying the gains made.
He reiterated the need for all stakeholders to work together, and with host communities, to safeguard the environment, and provide opportunities for host communities to reduce the appetite for venturing into dangerous activities such as illegal mining.
“Large-scale mining and small scale mining are both aimed at exploiting our mineral resources for the benefit of our people, using different methods and resources.
It is imperative that scale mining companies that use highly skilled methods must work closely with small scale miners to ensure that they, also, mine responsibly,” he stated.
Mr Jinapor noted that it was the plan of government to make Ghana the mining hub of Africa, where all mining and mining related activities, from exploration to downstream production, and from research to innovation, would be centred.
That, he explained, required that efforts were promote both large and small scale mining industries, and invest in value addition to ensure that the mining industry had adequate linkages to other sectors of the economy.
He said the government was of the belief that small scale mining could be done sustainably and responsibly to contribute meaningfully to the national economy.
In that regard, he said, government had been implementing several policies and programmes aimed at promoting responsible and sustainable small scale mining.
Amongst them, Mr Jinapor said was the revamped Community Mining Schemes, a community-owned small scale mining that promotes local participation in responsible and sustainable mining adding that an Operational Manual to regulate its operations to ensure environmentally-sound mining practices had also been developed.
Mr Edward Bickham, Senior Advisor of the World Gold Council, said the workshop was to share experiences and best practices in the mining sector.
He noted that it was necessary the government work in ensuring the small scale mining activities lead to lasting legacies that benefits host communities, the country and businesses.
Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, Mr Martin Ayisi said the small-scale mining sector was critical sector in the country’s foreign exchange earnings, employments and providing livelihoods to more than five million Ghanaians.
To formalise the sector, he said, the government was promoting geological survey to block out areas for small-scale mining activities, expedite licensing processes and deploy gold katchas.
BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS