The Chairman for Bibiani Small Scale Miners Association in the Western Region Mr. Adu Gyamfi has challenged players of the industry notably concession owners to satisfy all?requirements by?the law that demands among other criteria?that?persons?undertaking small scale gold mining acquire license granted by authorities of Lands and Natural Resources, Environmental Protection Agency and Ghana Water Resources to render their operations a more legalized one.?
An attempt to skip certification from any of the stated authorities renders ones operation illegal. According to Mr. Adu Gyamfi in an interview with the Moment, the increasing number of people mining illegally across the length and breadth of the country is alarming and the trail of environmental destruction left behind by this practice has assumed a position of national concern mostly resulting from inappropriate and wasteful working practices, bringing the business into a total disrepute.
Small Scale and artisanal mining he indicated, has for long been shrouded in illegalities following the errors made by some players of not wanting to meet all the requirements of the law, causing the legally endorsed ones a loss of? credibility and earning the brand? “illegal miners”.
This statement he underscored as entirely not true since there are scores of concession owners who are in good tune with the mining regulations. The reason for the decline in certification turn-out he indicated as policy makers’ inability to reach down to the grass root to make bare the mining laws and sensitize them on other?? regulations.
In a related statement, the Public Relations Officer for Bibiani district Branch of small Scale Miners Association Mr. Bernard Appiah Amponsah underscored another area of challenge during a dialogue with The Moment?as the high demands imposed on consignment owners?by?traditional heads. Some Chiefs?he mentioned demand hefty premiums before the start of business, considering not the demanding and the challenging nature of the industry. “We are sometimes required to embark on unachievable?social responsibilities before we start?operating on their lands,” Mr. Amponsah indicated.
Following the economic benefit generated from Small Scale Mining in Ghana with??over 30 percent of the 3.6 million ounces of gold produced in 2011,production of? about 85 per cent of the world?s gemstones and 20-25 per cent of all gold, provision of jobs and income for 20-30 million of the world?s poorest people and support the livelihoods of five times that number, Mr. Benard Appiah Amponsah indicated it as a high time? government and traditional leaders give an effective attention by offering the industry? a laudable facelift so as to encourage many into the it since they?equally like any other sector has the?potential to contribute to a sustainable development.
Mr. Amponsah further noted that?development agencies and national authorities have historically given little attention to the sector and how to make it sustainable, instead focusing on large scale mining.
Rather than supporting small-scale mining, governments? policies he mentioned are often poorly designed or implemented, or even repressive. The miners themselves lack access to the rights, financial services, market information and technology they need to make it a prosperous economic activity with reduced environmental impacts.
Donors, Mr. Amponsah stressed often ignore small-scale and artisanal mining, perceiving activities such as small scale agriculture and forestry to be more ?positive? livelihoods for the poor with large-scale mining companies often only engage with the small-scale sector in cases of conflict over land and resources.