Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) has called on all illegal and prospective miners to register under the government flag-bearership community-mining programme for them to be grouped into cooperatives to formalise their operations.
Addressing a press conference in Accra at the weekend, the spokesperson for GNASSM, Mr Frank Osei, noted that the association had registered over five thousand miners who have shown interest in the programne and encouraged more to come on board.
He asserted that that association was grateful to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, the Chairman of Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), Professor Frimpong-Boateng, the Secretary to the Committee, Mr Charles Bissue, ministers serving on the committee, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Minerals Commission, Mr Antwi-Bosiako, and other regulatory agencies for honouring their promise of lifting the ban on small scale mining before the end of December 2018.
The association thus appealed to the chairman of the IMCIM and the government to reconsider the cancellation of all licenses granted on and after July 2016.
“Much as the association will not support any illegality on the part of the miners, it would also want to advise government not to set a bad precedent.
“Artisan small mining (ASM) is the preserve of Ghanaians; we encourage all ASM operators to abide by this regulation in our Minerals and Mining Act. Chinese and other nationals are not to engage in any ASM operations. We will plead with our government to immediately deport any foreigner caught in illegal mining in accordance with our laws,” he noted.
He stressed that the association also calls on government to support the ASM sector financially since they have lost all “our investment due to the ban placed on us.
According to him, the illegal mining menace was not over after the ban had been lifted, it was the beginning of another chapter in dealing with it once and for all.
He, on behalf of the GNASSM, encouraged every Ghanaian to join hands with government to achieve the extraordinary.
Mr Osei noted that GNASSM cannot forget the financial support of GH¢100,000.00 (one hundred thousand Ghana cedis it received from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources then led by John Peter Amewu.
He acknowledged the contribution of the clergy, traditional leaders, media, academia, diplomatic missions CSOs, ILO, Solidaridad ASMAN, Third World Network and the general public.
He indicated that the ASM sector plays a major role in creating job opportunities for millions of Ghanaian youth, earns significant foreign exchange, provides raw materials for our jewellers and others for value addition and its linkages to other industries.
However, he said the socio-environmental challenges associated with the industry should be adequately addressed to maintain the needed balance.
“As an association we believe in sustainable mining operations and will continue to collaborate with government, CSOs and international agencies in achieving this.
He indicated that the association has put in place strategies to sensitise miners on the new ASM policy, continue the training of miners on good mining practices and community engagement on the impacts of illegal mining.
He stressed that plans were underway by the association to train miners on the proper use of retorts and mercury free processes and its health benefits to the miners and the community as a whole.
He said that the association would also sensitise the mining communities and miners on child labour related issues and the dangers of school dropout in mining communities and other social challenges.
He added that “we sensitise the miners on good working conditions and occupational health and safety sensation will be high on our agenda in accordance with the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8.
On enforcement, Mr Osei noted that the association has its monitoring teams at both the local and the national levels thus in all the mining districts.
“And they are responsible in checking our members at the various mining communities to adhere to the standards of the license granted.
“We would enforce the use of the right PPEs, recycling ponds usage and discharge, concurrent reclamation, proper housekeeping and others.
Story: Freeman KORYEKPOR AWLESU
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