From Sebastian R. Freiku, Kumasi .
The leadership and membership of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) have expressed their profound gratitude to President Akufo-Addo, the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, Professor Frimpong Boateng, Secretary to the committee, Mr. Charles Bissue, and other ministers serving on the committee.
Mr. Godwin Armah, General Secretary of the Association, at a press conference held in Kumasi on Tuesday, said the association was particularly grateful to the President and Prof Frank Kwabena Frimpong Boateng for honouring their promise of lifting the ban on small scale mining before the end of December this year.
The Association further acknowledged the contribution and support of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, then led by John Peter Amewu (the former Minister), for the financial support of GH¢100,000.
It was also thankful to the Chief executive officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr. Antwi-Boasiako, and other regulatory agencies, as well as the clergy, traditional leaders, media, friends and well-wishers of GNASSM, academia, diplomatic missions, civil society organisations, ILO, Solidaridad, ASMAN, Third World Network and the general public for their contribution in diverse ways.
The GNASSM, having registered over 5,000 miners who have shown interests in the programme, called upon all illegal and prospective miners to register under the community-mining programme, for them to be grouped into cooperatives to formalise their operations.
Mr. Armah, on behalf of the association, however, appealed to the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining and the government to reconsider the cancellation of all licenses granted on and after July 2016, saying much as the association would not support any illegality on the part of the miners, it would advise the government not to set a bad precedence.
According to the association, the ASM is the preserve of Ghanaians, and it would encourage all ASM operators to abide by this regulation in our Minerals and Mining Act.
The association said since Chinese and other nationals are not to engage in any ASM operations, it pleaded with the government to immediately deport any foreigner caught in illegal mining in accordance with our laws.
It also called on the government to support the ASM sector financially, since the sector had lost all investments due to the ban placed on us.