There is relief on the horizon for small-scale miners as government says it will on Friday announce a new policy framework for regularising and reforming mining activities in the country.
Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, the Information Minister said the outline will include how validated and legal responsible miners can mine after the policy announcement and the processes towards dredging and land reclamation in affected areas.
He told journalist at the launch of this year’s National Policy Summit at the Best Western Hotel in Takoradi Sunday there will also be “institutional reforms within the mining regulatory agencies, legal reforms in the mining sector.’
According to the Ofoase Ayerebi MP, there will also be efforts to avert a resurgence of illegal and irresponsible mining in the country.
Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah
This announcement comes 21 months after a ban was imposed on illegal, irresponsible as well as small-scale mining activities in the country.
While some have speculated a lifting of the ban, government has been quick to correct that what will be announced is a new policy framework within which the over 3,000 newly trained former galamsey operators.
There will also be thousands more who are interested in mining who can operate legally.
The ban was imposed in March 2017 when it was observed that small-scale mining was being used as a cover for irresponsible mining as well as even illegal mining in many parts of the country.
The practice fast led to a degradation of the environment affecting severely rivers and forest reserves. In some cases, it even led to a contamination of agricultural products as a result of the absorption of dangerous chemicals used.
Upon the institution of the ban, a security operation known as Operation Vanguard was launched to enforce the ban.
The operation comprising military and police officers has largely been successful in containing the situation. Several recalcitrant operators were also arrested and their equipment seized.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining was established to supervise ban and the transition to the new legal and well-regulated mining regime. The committee has completed its work and received cabinet approval to roll out the new framework.
“It is our expectation that stakeholders and the general public will continue to cooperate with authorities even as this new phase is rolled out.
“Tomorrow at the NPS, the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Small Scale Mining will give an update on the work done so far and the current status ahead of the announcement,” he said.
Source:hGhana| Myjoyonline.com |Abubakar Ibrahim