Business News of Saturday, 3 January 2015
Source: Graphic Online
Seventy-two small-scale mining groups in the Gbane community in the Upper East Region have generated more than 20,000 jobs for the people.
The activities of the miners have been regularised by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minerals Commission.
Both the youth and elderly have gained employment under the regularised small-scale mining activities.
The Regional Director of the EPA, Mr Asher Nkegbe, in an interview with the GNA said the agency had also renewed the permits of 16 small-scale mining groups and was considering applications for permits by other mining groups.
He said small-scale mining contributed about 30 per cent of the 3.6 million ounces of gold produced in the country in 2011 and had the potential of generating hundreds of thousands of jobs for the youth if their activities were streamlined.
The EPA, in collaboration with the Mineral Commission, is therefore regularising the operations of such miners to enable them to operate within acceptable laws and practices in the region.
The operations of miners have created indirect businesses such as ‘chop bars’, drinking bars and shops where essential commodities are sold. Also, many people from Bolgatanga and other parts of the Upper East Region troop to the area daily to transact business.
Speaking to the GNA at Gbane, some of the registered small-scale mining operators said their living conditions had improved since they could cater for themselves and their families, particularly for the education of their children.
Mr Dammy Ayatame, a 45-year-old man, who is the Chairman of the Datuuku Small-Scale Mining Group, stated that the group alone had engaged about 1,700 people, including women, who hitherto had nothing to do and travelled to the southern parts of the country to do menial jobs.
“Personally, through the mining I have bought a car, which is doing business for me and takes my children to school and back. I have also built three houses which I have rented out,” he said.
Mr Kojo Tanze, the Chairman of the Nongtaaba Small-Scale Mining Group, stated that he met the needs of his family through the mining activities.
A 40-year-old woman, Madam Cynthia Sema, who has opened a drinking spot in the area, said she could make good sales in a day and the survival of her business depended on the sustenance of the legalised small-scale mining business.