Mr. Sulemanu Koney, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has called for broader supervision and government roles in not just licencing but ensuring that small-scale miners apply best practices in their operations.
“Small-scale mining should be well-supervised and the government has a role to play by not only licencing but also ensuring that people use the best practices.”
Speaking on illegal small-scale mining, Mr. Koney revealed that it is usually done largely by non-indigenes in most communities where such activities take place.
He said one of the most effective ways of fighting illegal mining is the involvement of community members in ensuring they protect their environment by informing law enforcement agencies and chiefs within the locality.
Mr. Koney explained: “The law states that small-scale mining is the preserve of Ghanaians only, as Ghanaians might not have the financial muscle to go into large-scale mining”.
Mr. Koney said the government had set up centres under the auspices of the Minerals Commission that are to do field-visits, and monitor and evaluate mining operations to ensure that the right procedures are adopted.
He said mining is a national vocation and business, and as such there is a need to encourage Ghanaian mining entrepreneurs to go into it; and he appealed for the government to support indigenous Ghanaians to go into small-scale mining by removing the risks involved.
“Mining is good and we are blessed with the resources, so we must mine responsibly — making sure that we get optimal benefit of our mining industry,” he said.
At a panel discussion, Prof. Chris Gordon, Director, Institute of Environment and Sanitation Studies, said a few people, out of greed, are making Ghana lose its natural resources.
He described the activities of illegal mining as an act supported by barons who sometimes do not live in the country.
Prof. Gordon suggested that the district assemblies should spearhead the campaign in sensitising community members on the need to preserve the environment, most especially water-bodies.
A documentary written by Edem Srem and GiftyAndoh-Appiah, with scenes shot in Upper East, Upper West, Northern, Central, Eastern and Western Regions, highlights the operations of illegal mining and its consequences on community members and Ghana at large.
The premiere of the film, organised by Creative Storm Network, aims at exposing the root-cause of the trade, championing the campaign to sensitise the public on the need to preserve natural resources and addressing its related issues as a social responsibility.