The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Jinapor says contrary to criticisms that the President Akufo-Addo’s administration is against small-scale mining, the government recognises small-scale mining as key component of the country’s mining regime and is determined to sanitise it.
Speaking at the launch the 2022 edition of the Responsible Small-scale mining awards last week Friday, he admitted that the sector has been bedevilled with many practices that are unacceptable with consequences of adverse impact on the country’s river bodies, landscape and forest cover.
He recounted a number of efforts that have been put in place to curb the menace, saying “some of these measures include the national and regional dialogue, operation Halt, the reformative efforts we are making through community mining, the mercury-free Gold processing machine we procured and the National Alternative livelihood programme we’ve rolled out”.
These measures have been rolled out because according to him, despite the challenges, it was still an important sector that contributes up to 40% of the country’s gold output and, therefore, government is very mindful of the sector, ensuring that it is well managed.
The Minister noted that his Ministry has deemed it necessary to a reward and promote responsible small scale miners and recognise them to also serve as a measures to curb the menace and to confirm government’s resolve of not being against small-scale mining but rather committed to sanitising and improving the industry.
“I would like to reiterate that the President and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources are not against small scale mining, but absolutely committed and determined to continue with efforts to sanitize the small scale mining industry in Ghana,” he said.
The award initiative, the minister continued, is an effort of government and the Ministry to sanitize the mining industry and make it more attractive while urging all stakeholders to work closely together and help promote the mining industry in Ghana.
He explained the rationale for the awards scheme saying “while clamping down illegal mining, there is the need for a conscious effort to also promote legal and responsible small scale mining. This is the rationale behind the Responsible Small Scale Mining Awards”.
Mr Jinapor noted that this year’s awards scheme is going to see to the expansion of the number of awardees, while outlining the categories for the awards ceremony as follows;
- Best Female Small-Scale Miner
- Best Male Small-Scale Miner
- Best Small-Scale Miner in Environmental Stewardship
- Best Small-Scale Miner in Corporate Social Responsibility
- Best Gold Exporter
- Best Metropolitan/Municipal or District Chief Executive
- Best Traditional Leader
The General Secretary of the Ghana Small-scale Miners Association, Mr. Godwin Armah, in his remarks thanked government for introducing the awards scheme, asserting that it shows the importance that government accords the small-scale mining sector and its contribution to national development, adding that the awards scheme will help the small-scale miners work sustainably.
He appealed for the support of government and the Ministry to fight illegal small scale mining on the Birim River, which he said is a project they have taken upon themselves as an Association.
The National Small-Scale Mining Awards is a brainchild of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, which seeks to celebrate those who adhere to the health, safety and environmental standards guiding their mining operations.