The Minerals Commission, is unhappy with a section of the media. They want them to channel their energies into feeding their listeners with accurate information rather making baseless remarks about them.
Specifically, Martin Kwaku Ayisi urged Media General’s Blessed Godsbrain Smart, otherwise known as Captain Smart, to stop seeking unnecessary attention by claiming that the newly deployed community mining scheme by government to arrest illegal mining and sanitize the system is glorified illegal mining.
According to Lawyer Ayisi, he heard Captain Smart confidently spoon-feeding his viewers and listenership with false claims about the Ministry’s flagship initiative- Community Mining.
‘There’s so much ignorance in town about what we do. I heard Captain Smart saying the newly introduced community mining is glorified illegal mining’.
The Chief Executive Officer spoke to Omanhene Kwabena Asante on Ekosii sen on Asempa FM on Thursday 06 October 2022.
Let it be on record, that there is a vast distinction between community mining and illegal mining. The two are not the same.
For the CEO, although he can’t deny the actuality of illegal mining activities, it cannot be the case that community mining is glorified galamsey.
To him, regardless of the scourge of illicit and irresponsible mining which is causing the pollution of the river bodies and destroying farmlands, the importance of the sector to the economic prospects of the country cannot be underestimated.
He said, he is not oblivious of the fact that water bodies in mining communities have become highly contaminated with mercury, lead and cyanide as a result of illegal mining activities, putting the health of residents at risk.
‘Illegal Gold mining appeared to be the main cookie jar for cabals who work in connivance with powerful people. Many indigenes and residents have had their means of livelihood taken away as these individuals mine the valuable resource at their expense without recourse to environmental protection’.He noted.
Reports paint heart-wrenching pictures of the depredation going on in gold-rich communities in Ashanti, Central, Western and Eastern regions.
Similar havoc is underway in other regions, where unlicensed artisans drill for gold, and other mineral deposits in contravention of the Minerals and Mining laws.
Public outcry on the activities of illegal miners calls for concern. Illegal miners have reportedly muddied our river bodies, invaded large tracts of cocoa farms, paying farmers off, degrading the soil and depriving communities and the public treasury of the benefits of their natural resources.
Responding to the depredation, government has declared war on illegal miners in the country, with a view to mitigating the destruction of the environment.
According to Martin Ayisi, the government has since deployed two thematic measures to deal with the situation. They are reformative and enforcement resources to curbing illegal mining in order to prevent the destruction of the land and pollution of rivers.
In the CEO’s estimation, small-scale mining is very critical to Ghana’s economy.
Expounding, he said, small-scale mining is done in thirteen regions out of the sixteen administrative regions of the country with the exception of Greater Accra, Volta and Oti regions. Small-scale mining has provided over five million direct and indirect jobs.
‘For instance, in 2020, out of the 14.4 billion dollars of merchandize export, 7 billion dollars came from the mining sector with small-scale contributing a whooping 6.7 billion dollars.
He thinks, in spite of one third of the total gold production of Ghana coming from small-scale mining, the prospects are been undermined by criminals who profiteer from the sector at the expense of vulnerable populations.
Listing the components of a standard community mining scheme (CMS), the Chief Executive Officer of the regulating agency said, a Community Mining site must have a General Office, a Changing room, washroom and store, Mini Clinic/First Aid Post, Flag Posts, Car Park, Bole Hole, Entrance to concession, Main Gate and concession.
The scheme, he said, was operated with specified safety protocols which were expected to be strictly followed by the mining operators.
‘We have given them a mercury-free machine to facilitate their work. With this machine they don’t have to use any chemical to extract the gold, apart from water.
The machine will aid them to recover over ninety per cent of gold from the ore. In line with this requirement’,
He warned that any action contrary to the relevant regulations and code of practice would give the Minerals Commission enough reason to apply the laws appropriately.