A two-day training workshop to expose Small Scale Miners, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO’s) and Regulators on how to extract gold without the use of mercury has been held in Tarkwa.

The programme, organised by Friends of the Nation (FoN), a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) involved in socio-environmental advocacy with funding from the United States Department of State, through the US Embassy in Ghana.

The content of the training, which included the impact of mercury on human and the environment; methods used in determining the mineralogical and metallurgical properties of gold bearing ores and concentrates; and mercury-free flow sheets of extracting gold based on the characteristics of the ore, involved classroom and field demonstration sessions.

Mr Solomon Kusi Ampofo, Natural Resources Governance Coordinator at FoN, explained that the regulators who attended the workshop were field officers from Environmental Protection Agency and Minerals Commission in Tarkwa, Daboase, Nkroful, Obuasi and Asankragwa.

He said the Miners were drawn from communities namely Enchi, Prestea, Tarkwa, Nkroful, Dunkwa-On-Offin, Obuasi, Asankragwa and Wassa Akropong.

“Participants were exposed to how to use methods such as winnowing and direct smelting of extracting gold from concentrates using the correct flux composition and temperature” he said.

Mr Ampofo emphasized that the training was conducted after a research was conducted to determine the mineralogy and metallurgical properties on gold bearing ores and concentrates in selected communities in Western and Central Regions.

The Natural Resource Governance Coordinator said “sequel to this corresponding flow sheets were developed based on the characteristics of free-milling, alluvial and sulphide ores”.

Most of the miners who participated in the workshop expressed their joy as they were educated on methods that would enable them have higher recovery of gold without the use of mercury, which was harmful to their health.

Madam Janet Esi Kusi, National Treasure, Small Scale Miners Association commended the sponsors of the programme and appealed to members to adopt the mercury free methods so they could be healthy.

Mr Nuhu Mohammed Mustapha, Assistant Secretary to the Tarkwa Chapter of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners added that they would educate their members frequently on how to eliminate the use of mercury in their daily activities since it was a threat to their well-being.

He called on FoN to extend the training to all the mining communities to enable miners have an in-depth knowledge on the dangers of mercury and other chemicals used in the small scale mining business.

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