The Government through the Minerals Commission has spent $10 million to procure initial 100 mercury-free gold extraction machines for small-scale miners.
The Minerals Commission is expected to take delivery of 20 machines in two weeks and the rest by March next year to help eliminate the use of mercury in processing gold in compliance with the Minamata Convention.
Each machine is purchased at a cost of $113,000 and the miners are supposed to pay it on a “work-and-pay” basis within a year.
Mr Martin Ayisi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Commission, announced this at a media briefing in Accra on Tuesday.
The CEO of the Commission said the machines would help eliminate foreigners’ participation in small-scale mining in the country and safeguard the environment.
Mr Ayisi outlined various policy reforms being undertaken by the Commission to regulate and manage the country’s mineral resources and particularly, to sanitise the small-scale mining sector.
He mentioned the electronic licensing of small-scale miners, digitisation of the Commission’s manual records, online application of mining concessions, installation of tracking devices on mining equipment, recruitment of additional 30 mine inspectors, and construction of new district and regional offices to ensure efficient delivery of services.
Mr Ayisi stated that the Commission had collaborated with the sector Ministry to develop an operational manual to guide the operations of the Community Mining Scheme.
That, he said, would ensure uniform operation of all miners working under the Government’s Community Mining Scheme across the country and to curb the indiscriminate degradation of the environment.
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, on his part, said the various mining reforms being undertaken by the Ministry were in tandem with the President’s vision of indegenising the mining sector and ensuring that Ghanaians benefit from the gold value chain.