General News of Friday, 4 August 2017
The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) has commended the government for the bold steps taken so far to bring illegal mining to an end.
The association, in a statement, reaffirmed its unflinching support to the government in its efforts to protect the nation’s water bodies and the natural environment.
“To this end, we pledge our full support for ‘Operation Vanguard’ and we find it in line with the ‘anti-galamsey’ fight the association initiated in 2014,” the statement added.
The association has categorically stated that it is in full support of the operation and not in opposition to it in any form whatsoever.
“In reference to a recent media publication suggesting that the GNASSM was ready to fight against Operation Vanguard, the association would like to condemn in no uncertain terms and categorically dissociate itself from that statement.
We would like to urge the general public to disregard this unfortunate declaration made by persons not authorized to make official statements on behalf of the association,” the statement added.
The association noted that at the time the said press conference was taking place, most of the executives of the association were attending the training workshop organized by the government at UMAT and were not consulted at all.
The association has added that it has commenced a process to investigate and sanction all members who initiated the press conference. “Apart from national executives authorized to do so, the association would like to entreat its members to desist from making public statements on its behalf.”
It would be recalled that the first GNASSM ‘anti-galamsey’ task force was inaugurated at the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT), Tarkwa by the then Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Alhaji Inusah Fuseini.
Since the beginning of the anti-illegal mining campaign, the task force has, with the help of national security personnel, destroyed over 3000 dredgers and arrested some illegal operators.
“We assure the government and the good people of Ghana that we will continue in that direction. We are also ready to work with the deployed security personnel to carry out Operation Vanguard to the letter,” it added.
The association is appealing to the government about the plight of licensed small-scale miners. “We think that it is unfair for us to be lumped with illegal miners, and to be prevented from working on our legitimate concessions.
We pray the government to state clearly its position on licensed small-scale mining so that members will know their fate. Presently, some members are hugely indebted to their bankers and other creditors and pressure is mounting on them to pay back with interest. We anticipate a positive and prompt response from the government,” the statement added.