Members of the Small Scale Miners association of Ghana have described Government’s continuance of the ban on small-scale mining in the country as a deliberate attempt to ruin their businesses and starve them and their dependents.
Describing the non-lifting of the ban as inhumane and wicked, speaker after speaker alerted the government of their calls for foreign investors while there are several miners who have invested various amounts of monies into the Ghanaian economy but are suddenly being frustrated by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) government.
“Some of us have invested more than what their foreign investors have brought but they respect them more than us while we who voted for them are being maltreated,” they lamented.
At a press conference in Kumasi last Wednesday, the group warned the NPP government that they would vote against them in 2020 should they not lift the ban on small-scale mining.
General Secretary of the Association, Mr. Godwin Armah, wondered why government is still preventing them from doing their work after several postponements of the lift leading to huge financial losses up to the tune of USD551 million.
All these losses he noted could have been on great benefit to the country as it would have been spent in the economy and some also by way of corporate social responsibility.
Lumping both licensed and unlicensed small-scale miners and punishing them is unfair to him and his colleagues, calling on the president H.E. Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to ‘lift the ban now.’
Even though their members are increasingly becoming impatient with the government and want to fight back, he said they have been doing everything possible to calm them down even though they really understand the plights of their members.
He however, noted that their expectation of the outcome of a scheduled meeting with the Minister for Lands, Forestry and Natural Resources, saying ‘the outcome of that meeting will determine our next line of action.’
During the hullabaloo during the initial stages of the ban, the president noted publicly that he did not care if the ban on small-scale mining is what would make the NPP lose the 2020 elections. Even though the ban has seriously affected many Ghanaians, it was also realized that the government really had the support of a greater number of the populace when the ban was imposed.
This was due to the fact that some of the miners, who were later seen to be illegal miners, were mining in water bodies and forest reserves, a situation, which worried patriotic Ghanaians very much.
Members of the Small Scale Miners Association of Ghana however argued that their creation and support of a task force to bring the illegal miners to book must show Government how committed they are to restoring the sanctity of the Ghanaian landscape.
Story: From James APPIAKORANG JNR., KUMASI, ASHANTI REGION