Executive Secretary of Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM), Godwin Armah, has disclosed that members of the association are saddled with over 621 million dollars over the past 18 months due to the ban on small-scale mining.
Speaking in an interview with Today yesterday the small-scale miners executive secretary revealed that in anticipation of the Thursday stakeholders meeting to examine a roadmap towards the lifting of the ban on small scale mining, he said almost 80 per cent of the roadmap has been operationalised.
He said the good working relationship during the ban has engendered this.
He revealed that with support from government hitherto unlicensed small-scale miners have been guided to go through the necessary requirements to obtain the requisite licensing documents.
He also added that anyone found contravening the acceptable standards would be exposed, and added that compliance officers were being assisted to ensure they work with the technical monitoring team to make all registered small-scale miners adhere to best practices as any illegal equipment like “chanfan “found on any one catchment area would be held culpable.
The Secretary of Inter ministerial Mining Committee, Charles Onuawonto Bissue, revealed that close to 3,000 prospective small-scale miners have been taken through the necessary orientation to be licensed as small-scale miners.
He, however, fell short of specifically indicating the exact date when the ban on small scale mining would be lifted, saying that was the sole preserve of the President.
According to him, the cost of saving the environment was far greater than the 621 million dollars that the small-scale miners may have lost in the past 18 months during the ban.
He mentioned that over 5,000 excavators were in the country with 1000 excavators seized.
He further added that over 2000 persons had been arrested for flouting the directive with 1000 persons prosecuted.
He admitted that water bodies like Pra and Ankobra still remained polluted in spite of the ban although everyday people who flouted the directive were apprehended under the Operation Vanguard exercise and made to face the law.
He revealed that various hi tech measures like the use of drones to monitor those who will be licensed as over 220 drone pilots have been trained to man such gadgets under the National Builders Corps project.
He said under the new arrangement, a software known as “galamstop,” has been introduced to serve as a one-stop shop where one can obtain a small-scale license under 90 days of application.
He added that all small-scale miners would have a securitised identification card system that will enable constant monitoring.