Thursday, 25 January 2018

Miners speak strong words to minister

Image result for small scale miners

Adnan Adams Mohammed

Small Scale Miners have sent a strong worded warning to the Lands and Natural Resources minister, Mr Peter Amewu against any further extending the lifting of ban on their operations.

The group of miners are of the view that, a further extension of the ban on all forms of small-scale mining in the country will be harmful to the sector.

The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners is therefore, urging the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to lift the ban on small-scale mining and rather ensure strict enforcement of the country’s mining laws.

However, the minister John Peter Amewu has asked members of the miners to exercise restraint as the government works to fully implement measures to ensure responsible mining in the country.

He said the government is ready to allow them go back to work as soon as it sanitizes the sector and rid it of illegal mining.

Mr. Amewu was reacting to concerns by the small-scale miners that the current ban on their operations was greatly affecting their livelihoods and will have a negative effect on the sector.

According to Mr. Peter Amewu, although the government appreciates their concern and efforts to help it address the problem of illegal mining, it cannot rush the process.

“We appreciate their concern but they should exercise some patient and the right thing will be done. Government is not against small-scale mining, Opportunity exists for them but we are concerned about the methodologies and their approach,” MR. Amewu said in an interview.

There is currently a ban on small-scale mining in the country following the widespread devastation of the water resources and forest reserves due to the activities of illegal miners.

A six-month ban, which was imposed by the ministry earlier in 2017, elapsed in October 2017, but was extended to January 2018.

President Akufo Addo indicated at a media encounter that a decision on the way forward would be taken after a meeting with a team of experts this week.

He, however, added that, a lot more needs to be done in the crusade against illegal mining. But the miners believe the President’s stance is an indication that the ban might be extended for the second time.

The General Secretary of the Small Scale Miners Association, Godwin Armah in a Citi News interview said the ban must be lifted to avert the likely challenges the sector will face.

The small-scale miners have held the view that the government’s anti-galamsey fight is targetted at them, although large-scale miners must also be subjected to strict government supervision.

In September 2017, some small-scale miners in the Ashanti Regional capital, Kumasi, staged a demonstration over the government’s decision to extend the mining ban.

Despite some police arrests and firing of tear gas at the protestors, the organizers described the demonstration us successful.