‘Minister has no power to ban small-scale mining’

Chairman for Wassaman Small Scale Mining Association (WMSSMA) in the Western Region, Mr. Emmanuel Quarm, has stated that the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu, has no power to ban activities of small scale miners in the country.

According to him, the decision by government through the minister to ban activities of small scale miners without the approval of Parliament was a complete “violation of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) which enables the minister to seize equipment and accoutrements used by illegal miners.” “What this current government through the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has done is purely illegal.  It is an illegal thing and there is no justification for it,” he added.

Quoting Section 87 of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) to support his claim, Mr. Quarm explained that there is nowhere in the law which indicates that a minister can put a ban on activities of small scale miners until it has been approved by Parliament. “We should not forget that small-scale mining was established by an Act of Parliament and that any attempt by the minister to put an embargo on activities of small scale miners must come from the same Parliament. “….the establishment of the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) of the Parliament must be removed or amended by the same Parliament,” he stated.  He pointed out that “we should not forget that the minister is operating within the minerals and mining law being the main governing legislative instrument, saying that any power by the minister to seize equipment and machines of licenced miners should come from the law.

In his estimation, the minister was operating outside the law.  Speaking in an exclusive interview with Today via telephone, Mr. Quarm stressed that the power vested in the minister was only to revoke a licence of illegal miners but not the licenced small scale miners. He challenged the minister to come out and explain to Ghanaians about how he got his powers to ban small scale activities.

Mincing no words, Mr. Quarm threatened to take legal action against the Akufo-Addo-led government if the ban on small-scale mining was not lifted immediately.

He stressed that: “We are giving the government two weeks to lift the ban on mining or else “we will sue the government.” He added that “We are not illegal miners.  We are licensed small-scale miners.” “The state gave us the licence to mine and so why is the government asking those of us, the legal miners, not to do our business. “The rule of law must work and so the extension of the six-month ban is unconstitutional and insensitive.

Our children are unable to attend school because we can’t work,” he lamented. He, therefore, appealed to President Akufo-Addo to reconsider the ban on small-scale mining.  He argued that government has discriminated against them with the ban because the large scale mining companies are still operating at the detriment of the small scale miners.

 

Minerals & Mining Matters

…with Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu

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