Home Opinion Press Releases Let AKOBEN Capture Small Scale Mining In Ghana: ASMAN Calls.

Let AKOBEN Capture Small Scale Mining In Ghana: ASMAN Calls.

Illegal mining involving Ghanaians and Chinese is ongoing at Obuasi
A pit where Small Scale Mining is done
A pit where Small Scale Mining is done

The Artisanal and Small Scale Mining-Africa Network (ASMAN)- an environmental NGO, has stated that Ghana?s Environmental Protection Agency?s (EPA)? programme that seeks an environmental performance rating and disclosure initiative has not taken cognisance of? small scale mining activities in the country.

?We at ASMAN wish to remind the EPA that following our submission made at the conference on the subject-matter in relation to small scale mining in Ghana; we are still expectant of a major policy move to ensure the institutionalisation of the AKOBEN model for the small scale mining industry in order to halt the current trend where small scale miners have illegally graduated from the mercury-abuse to the usage of unauthorised cyanide.

The EPA has developed the AKOBEN programme to carry out its mandate in conformity with the principles of the National Environment Policy of the country.? And this has not captured the mining operations and activities of small scale mining operators in line with set standards such as Environmental Impact Assessments guidelines.

In a Press statement issued by Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah, Executive Director, in Accra noted: ?We understandis to serve as a monitoring and verification programme to ensure that all mining companies, including small scale mining, follow environmental regulations on a continual basis. ASMAN also notes with grave concern the lack of education and development of national plans on Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) including a public health strategy that addresses awareness-raising on the Minamata Convention on Mercury,? it drew attention.

ASMAN therefore urges the Chief Programme Officer, Mining Department of EPA, Mr Ransford Sekyi of the Agencies assurance to institute a customised version of the AKOBEN programme for the Small Scale Mining Sector in Ghana.

It said a recent two-day international round table on Reducing Environmental Health Impacts of Harmful Pollutants in the Africa Region organised by the World Bank in collaboration with the EPA, in Accra,? deliberations on dangerous impact of pollutants in general, such as e-waste and mercury use in the small scale mining sector were discussed. Also, collaborative efforts within and outside the countries of concern and efforts made for reduction and elimination of contaminations were discussed as well.

The statement said it is an open knowledge that mercury exposure in ASGM communities is associated with adverse health effects including kidney dysfunction, autoimmune and neurological symptoms. The collaborative introduction of the ThermEx Retort by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Minerals Commission of Ghana, which will substantially reduce the use of mercury in ASGM is commendable but the accompanying challenge posed by the use of the retort had not been evaluated, for subsequent enforcement.

ASMAN therefore wish to propose that whilst the World Bank continues to use round table to solving remediation of the contaminations; the EPA should adopt an all-inclusive approach (with small scale miners), to produce a reference document for remediation and enhance the fallen image of the ASM Sector in Ghana.

Source: Seibik Bugri

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