Small Scale miners in the country have committed resources to reclaim lands used used for mining activities. The miners would be meeting in Kumasi on Tuesday, April 11, 2017 to discuss how the reclamation would be carried out.
This planned action by the small scale miners is coming on the back of public outcry and various campaigns to stop illegal mining, popularly referred to as galamsey.
Those championing these campaigns are worried about the impact of galamsey activities as they destroy water bodies, arable lands and put the lives of people living in those communities at risk of varied health conditions.
According to the General Secretary of the Small Scale Miners Association, Godwin Armah, the group is prepared to work with government and other stakeholders to mitigate the impact of illegal mining in the country. The group is particularly worried that people tend to tag all mining activities as illegal which is affecting their operations.
“We’ve met the minister (Lands and Natural Resources Minister) since he came and we have some proposals that we have given to him. We’re also coming out with our position on the issue”, he said.
Regarding the specific contributions the association intends making towards arresting the situation. “We’ve called on all our members that anywhere we are, we are going to do reclamation… we’ll halt the activities and then all our machines will be sent to those illegal sites where we have the pits so that we’ll reclaim and demonstrate that mining can be done properly”, he outlined
The small miners, per this directive would cover at least two acres of the pits which have been mined out, not only on their sites, but those of others who have left the pits opened after mining. The association claims to have identified people who fail to fill mined pits and is liaising with the local assemblies to get these people to go cover them.
They are however warning against the use of military personnel to chase all miners out as they would have no option but to leave the pits open. It is estimated that government would have to spend at least USD 250m to refill the pits dug out for mining purposes. “We need to be strategic and proactive and also bring those people back to come and fill their pits’, he stated.
TEMPORARY BAN ON MINING ACTIVITIES
On the calls by some Civil Society Organizations (General Agriculture Workers Union and WACCAM) for a temporary ban to be placed on all mining activities, Mr. Armah said that wouldn’t be the best approach to tackling the menace. In his view, “a lot of people have invested money into the projects.
They’ve taken loans from banks and it would be very difficult” if the ban should be enforced. Government has not heeded the calls for a ban on mining activities. What it has done though is to suspend the issuance of new licenses for mining activities.