General News of Friday, 2 February 2018
The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale miners, GNASSM is mounting pressure on government to lift the ban on small-scale miners without delay as the time scheduled for the lifting has elapsed.
According to the miners, the government promised to lift the ban by the end of January 2018, and as such must fulfil its promise. They added that the ban which was necessitated by the adverse effects of illegal mining has pushed them to cause the arrest of about 632 illegal miners nationwide, thus contributing to the fight against illegal mining.
General Secretary of the Small-scale miners association taskforce, Godwin Armah noted: “We’ve been able to arrest 632 illegal miners nationwide, and seized 5,431 Chanfan machines. If the ban is extended once again, before we realize, so many people who are into illegal mining will devise new strategies to continue mining illegally.”
In October 2017, the ban was extended for another 3 months prompting protests by the small-scale miners association. Lands and Natural resources minister, John Peter Amewu in December 2017, assured that government will lift the ban on small-scale mining by the end of January 2018 after the completion of an auditing process and subsequent approval by cabinet is given.
Following the elapse of the schedule as stated above, the Minister is however of the view that there is more to be assessed before the ban on small-scale mining is finally lifted.
“The Waterbodies are still not clear, the Chanfan machines are still there, Night illegal operators now conduct their activities at night, although Operation vanguard and the Small-Scale taskforce is doing its best to apprehended the illegal miners, there’s still more work to do,” he said.
The Inter-ministerial committee on mining was given the mandate to vet 1,350 registered small-scale miners across the country in a bid to regularize their operations before it makes recommendations to President Nana Akuffo Addo to lift the ban on mining.
The Committee is expected to make its submission to cabinet before an approval is given to lift the ban on small-scale mining.