Concerned Small Scale Miners have served notice that they are planning to defy the government’s ban on their activities.
The government in January 2017, placed a ban on small-scale mining for a period of 6 months due to the widespread destruction of water resources and forest reserves as a result of the activities of illegal mining.
The ban was extended in October 2017 for another 3 months ending in January 2018.
But speaking at an awards ceremony by the Bureau of Research, Governance, Commerce and Administration, March this year, the Land and Natural Resource Minister John Peter Amewu announced the extension of the ban for the third time.
The extension, he explained was necessary because small miners failed to meet the target set for them to have it lifted.
“The ban has invariably been extended because we have not lifted it. We met with the Association and clearly, our targets have still not been met. The ban is still in force until we have reviewed our performance and given an indication of what to do next,” he stated.
The ban on small-scale mining has resulted in the industry losing over $500 million, according to the Small Scale Mining Association since its inception.
The ban, said President Akufo-Addo, will soon be lifted when he addressed a sensitization workshop for traditional rulers and the clergy on illegal mining in Ghana, organized by the Ministry of Chieftaincy last month.
Also, the Vice-chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee of parliament, Mireku Duker disclosed over the weekend all is set to have the ban lifted by end of September.
“I’m assuring them the president is just fine-tuning the roadmap. By the close of September I’m sure the ban will be lifted,” he told Ago FM.
The President of the Concerned Small Scale Miners, Kojo Peprah, however, flatly rejected the assurance, noting they are prepared to take their destiny into their own hands.
“We don’t believe it until we hear the government coming out to say the exact date that the ban will be lifted. That’s the only way we will be convinced. As it stands now Small Scale Miners are not convinced on what the Vice Chairman of the Mines and Energy Committee said,” Mr Peprah told Starr news’ Naa Dedei Tetteh.
He said the ban has rendered them penniless and that in no time they are going to defy the ban and resume mining.
“We are going to defy the order in the coming weeks. Very soon we will order all our members who have their legitimate license to go back to work,” he disclosed.
Asked if that will not lead to anarchy, Mr Peprah retorted, “If small-scale miners are in the house and Chinese who are not even Ghanaians who don’t have the work permit to even work are being protected by the Military, what’s chaotic about that?
“Are you trying to tell me that the leaders are not aware of what is happening? People within the government are the ones engaging in galamsey. So it is about time we let them know that we are not afraid of anybody.
“If the military who are supposed to protect the sovereignty of this nation is rather engaging in galamsey with the supervision of some politicians then why can’t we defy their order?
“We will defy their order and go back to work.”