The Ghana Chamber of Mines has expressed its willingness to partner the government to train small-scale miners on how to undertake best mining practices in the country.
The training has become necessary in view of the worsening situation of illegal mining by small-scale miners and its effects on the environment.
The President of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Mr Kwame Addo-Kufuor, said a study conducted by the chamber on artisanal and small-scale mining revealed the need to train the miners on best practices as the legacies of illegality in the sector had repercussions on the country.
“The legacies of the illegality usually culminate in significant pollution, disruptions in social lives and a potential violation of international standards relating to responsible minerals sourcing. In anticipation of these challenges, the Chamber conducted a study on artisanal and small-scale mining,” he said at a meeting with the new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, in Accra on February 17.
The study, he said, recommended the enforcement of Health, Safety and Environment standards through the engagement of competent mining engineers by small-scale miners.
“Such small-scale miners’ services could be shared by a number of small-scale miners at different locations. The Chamber is willing to collaborate with your ministry to train small-scale miners in the best available mining practices,” he said.
The Chamber also urged the government to conduct geological investigation into parcels of land before granting them to small-scale miners in the country.
The minister expressed the government’s readiness to address the rise in illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, as well as other concerns raised by the Chamber.
He said the new government was ready to deal with the menace through policy and with the collaboration of the Chamber.
“Our environment, water bodies and lands are nothing to talk about. Some of them are now mining even in our forests. The signals are just not good. We believe that the militant approach that we have seen over the period, for me, has not been successful. That is not the right way to tackle the problem,” he said.
Outlining the actions to be taken, Mr Amewu said “we are coming out with a multilateral mining integration project which will seek to address this issue on three pillars; law, technology and enforcement.”
The Chamber also appealed to the minister to help resolve the issue of delays in issuance of environmental permits to enable members to produce to increase productivity.
“In order to realise our shared objective of increasing production, it will be important to resolve the perennial problem of delays in the issuance of environmental permits. We, therefore, appeal to the Hon. Minister to work with his counterpart at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) to expeditiously address this issue,” he said.
Purpose of meeting
Mr Addo-Kufuor said the meeting was to congratulate the minister on his appointment and to assure him of the chamber’s collaboration with his ministry.
It was also to introduce the executives of the Ghana Chamber of Mines to him and to share ideas on how to partner with the government to execute initiatives that would be mutually beneficial to the country and the mining industry.