Consultant urges government to promote licensed small scale mining
Posted on: 10-Sep-2012
Government must encourage licensed small scale mining in order to harness the national resource for local economic development, Mr Ambrose Yennah, a Consultant at Africa Integrated Development and Communication Consultant Limited (AIDCC) said on Monday.
Speaking at a Ghana Chamber of Mines and BUSAC Policy Dialogue meeting, Mr Yennah called on government to, as a matter of urgency, develop a national policy on mining which would highlight licensed small scale mining and treat it as a national issue with huge potential for national development and job creation.
However, he emphasized, that illegal mining or (galamsey) should not be entertained in any form and called on the authorities to strictly enforce the law, which makes mining without license a criminal act.
The policy dialogue, which was sponsored by the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge Fund, (BUSAC) and the Ghana Chamber of Mines and member institutions, was to discuss possible ways to mainstream the small scale mining sector in the country.
It is also to promote negotiation on the specific action steps and implementation timelines as well as to have a multi-stakeholder approach to mainstream the operations of the small scale mining sector.
Mr Yennah said the small scale mining law and the Minerals and Mining Act supported the enterprise operations of Small scale mining provided the operators obtained a license.
He said there was the need to review, strengthen and update already existing laws and regulations to make them more relevant to the current needs and challenges of the industry whiles laws on small scale mining must be enforced with a clear definition of acceptable and negative mining practices.
Mr Yennah said the unregulated nature of the operations of such illegal miners meant that government was losing more tax revenues while negative environmental practices were threatening lives of inhabitants in the community.
Besides, there is also serious security and cost implications for national security as the illegal miners often wield deadly weapons for self defense with serious implications for the potential manufacture and distribution of small arms in the country and the sub-region.
He said government and regulatory agencies should identify non-Ghanaians currently engaged in illegal operations contrary to the law and prosecute them.
Dr Toni Aubynn, Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Chamber of Mines, said it was in the national interest to encourage small scale mining by ensuring that those who engaged in it were duly registers in line with the law.
“Small scale mining is good when it is done legally. But the way it is being done now with deaths and environmental degradation is not the best,” he said.
Dr Aubynn said currently, about 27 percent of small scale mining operations are doing so within the law and expressed the hope that the promotion and legalization of small-scale mining and the formalization of artisanal small-scale mining alongside the large scale ones would inure to the benefit of government and mining communities.