President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo Monday commissioned some 100 mercury-free gold extraction machines to ensure viable, sustainable and environmentally friendly small-scale mining.
The move forms part of the Government’s efforts to regulate and manage the country’s mineral resources, sanitize the small-scale mining sector and eliminate the use of mercury in the processing of gold.
At a ceremony at the Independence Square in Accra, President Akufo-Addo said the acquisition of the of the equipment was a boon to small-scaler mining and environmental sustainability.
He said the equipment, which has the capacity to recover over 90 percent of gold ore without the use of mercury, would ensure that mining is carried out in an environmentally sustainable and socially responsible manner.
The President emphasized that Ghana’s commitments under the Minamata Convention, which enjoins countries to reduce, and, where feasible, eliminate the use of mercury in artisanal and small-scale mining, would be followed through strictly.
“We owe it as a duty to protect and safeguard our environment by reducing and, eventually, eliminating the use of such harmful chemicals,” he said.
Noting the importance of the small-scale mining sector to Ghana’s development, President Akufo-Addo pointed out that though the sector accounted for some 40 percent of gold exports and livelihoods for many Ghanaians, it was also a major contributor environmental degradation and pollution in the country.
He was optimistic that that the equipment would facilitate clean mining in the small-scale sector and announced plans to procure 300 more of the machines to gradually eliminate the use of mercury in that sector.
The President warned that Government would not tolerate any form of mining that paid no heed to the preservation of the environment and “which threatens our very survival and the legacy we seek to bequeath future generations”.
He reiterated the full support of the Government for responsible small-scale mining activities, to enable Ghanaians to participate in the mining industry and contribute substantially to the development of the gold sector.
He pledged to ensure that small scale mining supports government’s drive to optimize the earning from mining in pursuit of development, progress and prosperity for all Ghanaians.
The Mercury-free mineral processing machine, referred to as “Gold Katcha”, is to ensure chemical-free mining without the traditional use of mercury in extracting gold from the ore.
The technology has the capacity to recover over 90 percent of gold ore compared to other methods that recover just 30 to 35 per cent of gold.
The equipment was developed by the Commodity Monitor Limited, a Ghanaian-based company.