The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) has commended the government over its plans to lift the embargo placed on all small-scale mining activities in the country.
The government, through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, banned all small-scale mining activities in order to deal with illegal mining practices (galamsey).
The ban followed the pollution of water bodies and destruction of the environment by the galamseyers.
President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, however, recently assured that shortly, government will put out a statement setting out a comprehensive roadmap, including the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining, to deal with, on a permanent basis, the grave threat of galamsey to the present and future health of Ghana.
The comprehensive roadmap, according to the President, will involve the reclaiming and re-afforestation of mined-out areas; the restoration of impacted water bodies; and strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licences and associated permits.
Additionally, the roadmap will incorporate the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project; the implementation of alternative livelihood projects; systematic control of the engagement of excavators and changfans in mining areas; and continued formalisation and regulation of the small-scale mining sector.
“When the ban is lifted, you will have a responsibility, as was successfully discharged in the days of our forefathers, to continue to help preserve our lands, water bodies and environment,” the President said.
He continued, “We all have a duty to say no to galamsey for our own common survival and the survival of those who are to come. If we allow it, we are jeopardising both our present and our future. This cannot be over-emphasised.”
In a statement released on Monday, 25 June, GNASSM said: “We are commending government for the assurance of lifting the ban on small-scale mining to enable ligitimate members to go back to work in an improved system aimed at sustaining the environment. Inasmuch as the association’s faith in government is unflinching, GNASSM is expecting that the timely implementation of the assurance will become a saviour bell to end the myriad of problems that have engulfed members for some time now.
“The association, after careful study of government’s adherence to its roadmap to mitigate and support sustainable small-scale mining to protect the environment, is convinced of a remarkable success which informed the decision to lift the ban soon. Considering plans put in place by GNASSM to reciprocate government’s effort like Site Management Committees, a technological software called ‘Optimum RM’ to supervise and monitor activities of members and the formation of taskforce in all mining districts backed by the national taskforce as Rapid Response Team, the set target of sustainable and responsible mining of the nation will be achieved.
“Now that members of small-scale mining are seriously undergoing training organised by government to equip members with the needed skills to go about their work, GNASSM can assure Ghanaians that the tone is set for legitimate small-scale miners to resume business in a manner which will improve the economy without degrading our environment.
“On assumption of office by the NPP last year, a ban on small-scale mining was necessitated due to the extent of environmental degradation. The lift of the ban suffered several extensions of time because the government’s expectations on the way forward to change the status quo was not met.
“But the assurance of lifting the ban soon was announced by the president, His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, in a recent conference to review its own roadmap on ensuring that small-scale mining is done in a responsible manner.”