The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) has described recent calls by section of the public for a ban on small-scale mining as “preposterous, insensitive, and a lazy man’s approach” to solving the illegal mining menace (Galamsey) in the country.
The wanton destruction of the environment and pollution of water bodies by the activities of illegal miners has become a cause for concern to most Ghanaians due to the rippling effect on the nation.
Whilst the illegal mining activity is posing a threat to food security, a looming water crisis also stares us right in the face should it linger on.
This has enraged some groups who have even called for a total ban on any form of small-scale mining activity.
But the small-scale miners think otherwise.
“Although we don’t agree with the Christian Council, Occupy Ghana, media coalition against illegal mining and other Ghanaians calling for a total ban on all forms of small-scale mining, we are prepared to collaborate with these stakeholders to minimize illegal mining in the country.
“We believe that the issues surrounding the sector must be properly addressed without emotions to save our forests and river bodies from further destruction and to safeguard our environment for healthy living and posterity for all”, secretary to GNASSM, Godwin Amarh stated at a press conference in Kumasi.
The group expects regulatory agencies to identify and clampdown on those engaged in illegal mining activities and allow those being regulated and doing legal mining to work without any hindrance.
“Will it be fair to close all radio stations because some are acting unprofessionally? No. Same applies in the mining sector. People acting contrary to the laws should be singled out and punished. Small scale miners are not issued with licensed to mine on river bodies so anyone mining on water body is a “galamseyer”
GNASSM proposed bi-partisan and community enforcement approach to tackling illegal mining.
“Illegal mining is a National Challenge but the solution is at the local level. There is no way illegal mining will prevail when communities are properly organized to manage mining in their areas.
“Also Municipal, Metropolitan and District Chief Executives who cannot manage the activities of illegal miners should be sacked.
“The community mining concept should be reviewed and properly implemented to be more beneficial to the local community. The community should be the owners of the mines than the current state where mostly individuals own the concession and this creates confusion in most mining communities”.
The small-scale miners say they are ready to collaborate with government to implement policies and programs to rid off small-scale mining of illegal activities.
By Ibrahim Abubakar|3news.com|Ghana