The Artisanal & Small Scale Mining-Africa Network (ASMAN), a Non-Governmental ASM Platform, which is involved in the Natural Resources and Environmental Governance Advocacy, particularly the promotion of responsible and sustainable Small Scale Mining, has challenged the Minerals Commission to be more serious with the tackling of challenges in management of the Small Scale Mining Sector, from the root of the problem.
The Executive Director of ASMAN, Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah, said they have observed with grave concern the downwards trend of the profile level of services for Small Scale Mining (SSM) within the Minerals Commission during the last decade; and therefore calling on Government to streamlined the organogram affecting the paradigm shift in the mentality and mindset regarding characterisation of the Small Scale Mining Sector.
The mindset and debate should focus more on small scale mining as a wealth-creating sector rather than one that is ordinary linked to a poverty-driven activity.
The promulgation of PNDC L218 gave birth to the legalisation of the small scale mining sector; and a Small Scale Mining Project (SSMP) was instituted with a Director, at the helm of SSMP management at the Minerals Commission.
Now, twenty-five (25) years along the line, instead of celebrating this novelty, rather the hierachy of the Small Scale Mining Project (SSMP) has gradually been reduced from Director to an Assistant Manager. With this reduction in hierachy, it takes many procedural steps before issues pertaining to the SSMP is carried on to Management Level, thus creating a lackadaisical delay measures towards influencing any emergent and timely policy direction and change in the SSM Sector.
Nii Adjetey continued that, to better appreciate the economic importance of small scale mining, there is the need for an accurate and reliable Data on the Populations involved in the SSM Sector. It is a known fact that guess work is the other of the day; and even the World Bank data on SSM population in Ghana is obsolete, thus affecting accuracy in planning and development.
This calls for an immediate Base-line Census on the Sector to address current concerns as to position small scale mining as a wealth creating novelty.
The rampant influx of mechanisation (heavy-duty equipment) in the small scale mining sector is devastating with a telling effect.That many miners who are categorised as small scale miners, especially those working on hard-rock mining, should in fact be treated as Medium-Scale Miners.
Therefore, the need to re-classify this category of miners in terms of policies and regulations cannot be over-emphasised. This will make clear distinction between artisanal and small-scale mining on one hand, and the medium-scale mining on the other with its antecedent Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and Tax Obligations.
Nii Adjetey then commented on a recent research conducted by ASMAN on the Role of the District Mining Centres in the monitoring and cordinating of the SSM Sector at the grassroots.
He continued that the study esposed the limited number of staff with respect to land-area coverage at the various District Mining Centres, which also rendered an abysmal presence as to their impact, thus requires the Government to resource the mineral regulator to work effectively.
The sparsely distribution of the small mines also makes supervision very difficult for the limited officials, coupled with the nonexistent of the District Mining Committees, things got worse with the ‘galamseyers’ having a field day with impunity.
The setting up of the District Mining Committees, which is a requirement in the Minerals and Mining Act 2006 (Act 703, Section 92) would help improve the management of the SSM Sector at the local, decentralised and district level, but the quest of the matter on who (whether MINCOM or MMDCE) to fund the District Mining Committees is in abeyance.
In conclusion, ASMAN is calling for an all-inclusive concerted effort with the Regulatory Bodies, Chieftaincy, Civil Society, Law Enforcement and the Industry Players through ‘Stakeholders Analysis’ for the Development of Small Scale Mining in Ghana.
Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah Executive Director – ASMAN P. O. Box CT 2121, Cantonments, Accra. Avenue D, Hse. No. 119, North Legon, Accra.
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