Artisanal and small scale mining Africa network(ASMAN) has expressed worry over government’s inability to give specific timelines as to when the ban on small scale mining will be lifted across the country.
According to the Director of Policy and Research Edward Kwasi Akuoko, the long wait on government to lift the ban is frustrating the livelihood of miners.
“Miners are becoming frustrated. As we speak, we still don’t know when the ban will be lifted” he said.
Speaking in Accra on Thursday at a press conference towards a road-map to lift the ban on small scale mining, the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Task-force Against Illegal Mining, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, said the team hopes the introduction of some computer software and activities will culminate in the eventual lifting of the ban.
“These are things that have been pledged at this conference in the fight against illegal mining. The integration of activities of these regulatory agencies through a computer application we call Galamstop. The Minerals Commission, EPA, Water Resources Commission, Forestry Commission, our current DCEs will be integrated through this software application.”
But speaking on Kasapa 102.5 Fm, Mr. Akuoko said government has consistently failed to give a clear road map as to when the ban on small scale mining will finally be lifted.
“When I listened to the press conference yesterday, he only told us about the map but failed to tell us about the road, because if you are giving a roadmap to lift the ban on small scale mining, what we expected was that the various activities you mentioned should be hooked up to a specific timeline, that is what a roadmap means” he said.
He explained that, if the minister had given specific timelines to the various activities to be embarked on by the Inter-Ministerial Task-force that would have given some sort of joy and hope to small scale miners.
“When we talk about roadmap it goes beyond the lifting of the ban, the government should have stated that for instance, after lifting the ban, every three months, we as a task force will go round to ensure that those that have been given the license to mine are actually working with information going through the central data system” he said.
The government, through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, banned all small-scale mining activities in order to deal with illegal mining practices (galamsey).
The ban followed years of pollution of water bodies and destruction of the environment by the galamseyers.
It was initially for six months, but has since seen a number of extensions while government says it is seeking appropriate strategies to regulate the sector and refine operations.
The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was constituted in March 2017, with the mandate to enforce the ban and develop a comprehensive roadmap to guide the activities of small scale miners to ensure sustainable mining and protect the environment.