Ban On Small-Scale Mining To Be Lifted Soon- Akufo-Addo Assures

Government will soon lift the ban on small scale mining which been in force for about a year, President Akufo-Addo has assured.

Addressing a sensitization workshop for traditional rulers and the clergy on illegal mining in Ghana, organized by the Ministry of Chieftaincy, President Akufo-Addo said the ban which was meant to be a temporary measure was instituted to help government “streamline and sanitize the small scale mining sector.”

The President indicated that shortly, government will issue a statement “setting out a comprehensive roadmap including the lifting of the ban to deal on a permanent bases this threat to the present and future health of our nation.”

Scope of the Road Map

Among others, the President said the road map will address the “reclaiming and reforestation of mined out areas, restoration of impacted water bodies,  strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licenses and associated permits, the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project,  the implementation of an alternative livelihood project, standoff control of the engagement of excavators in mining areas and the continued formalization and regulation of the Small Scale Mining sector.”

In his speech, President Akufo-Addo identified various things government has done so far to deal with the illegal mining menace.

“Government gave directives to the Committee to carry out certain activities to bring sanity into the artisanal gold mining sector,” the President said.

He continued: “First, the launching of Operation Vanguard on 31st July, 2017, a force comprising officers and men from the Military and Police Service, tasked to prevent further pollution of water bodies and land degradation. Despite the deeds of a few, Operation Vanguard has been, to date, a considerable success.

“Secondly, the training of small-scale miners in sustainable mining methods at the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa. 600 miners have so far been trained. As at 4th June, 2018, 1,500 miners are receiving training in sustainable mining practices”.

“Thirdly, a nationwide tour by the Minister for Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs to solicit the support of Chiefs, Queen Mothers and other traditional and opinion leaders in the fight against illegal mining.”

The fourth according to the President, is the “regular interactions between the Inter-Ministerial Committee and the Small-Scale Miners Association to craft a Code of Practice for small scale mining operations.”

The fifth measure the President said is the formation of District Mining Committees against illegal mining with clearly defined terms of reference. These Committees are expected to address all issues concerning small scale mining in their districts. The Metropolitan, Municipal and District Chief Executives had already been informed about the composition of the District Mining Committees, which were duly inaugurated before the end of the first week of January this year; and lastly “the deployment of satellite imagery and drone technology to monitor the mining activities of illegal miners”.

Challenge to the Stakeholders

President Akufo-Addo challenged the Chiefs and all other Stakeholders to find a lasting solution to the “Galamsey” menace through their deliberations. “We are counting on you, the traditional rulers, to help shape and integrate yourselves into these developments, so that the peculiarly Ghanaian contribution to the concept of governance, which emanates from the integration of royal, aristocratic institutions into the fabric of a republican, democratic framework, will be enhanced and strengthened to the benefit of the Ghanaian people” the President said.