The Ghana National Association of small-scale Miners, is the umbrella Association of small-scale miners who have legal access to the concessions which they mine.

Ghana National Association of small-scale MinersThe national outcry on issues surrounding small scale and artisanal gold mining and the calls for total ban of the sector has been in the news for several months and more especially since the beginning of this year.

While exponents of the freeze on activities of small scale gold miners argue about illegal mining (galamsey) and the wanton destruction of forests, farms, water bodies and what have you, the few that believe in small gold mining should be given the chance.

The President of this Association, Evangelist Collins Osei Kusi, in delivering this statement at the National Center For Culture on 11th April, 2017, appealed to the president to see reasons with the great impact their sector has brought into the country’s local economy and give them the chance to operate.

Outlining some of their good impact, he said there has been a generation of foreign exchange, provision of gold to the local industries, evolution of indigenous entrepreneurs in the sector. Adding that, there are several rich gold deposits in the country that cannot be mined at the large-scale level.

According to Ev. Osei, their sector alone, contributes 34% of the total national gold and have also employed about one million workers. Thus, the sector indirectly affects 25% of Ghana’s population as per the United Nation’s convention that, one worker economically influences six others.

“The GNASSM encourages legal, safe and environmentally friendly practices amongst its members and also cooperative with the Minerals Commission and the EPA in their monitoring activities.

Through a memorandum of understanding with the University of Mines and Technology, many of our members have undergone training and more of such interactions are ongoing.

The GNASSM condemns the ongoing irresponsible mining activities of the illegal operators, leading to the destruction of forest reserves and water bodies. Though, the Association is not a law enforcement agency and thus, is not able to prevent or stop the illegality in the sector, but is ready with its own taskforce at the various mining districts to team up with the National Security apparatus (Army, Navy, BNI and the Police) to identify where all the illegal activities takes place, in order to bring them to book,” Ev. Osei Kusi noted.

He further said, it is clear that, no miner has a legal concession to mine on a river, thus, they first of all strongly suggest with immediate effect that, the Navy should conduct an operation on all our major river bodies in the country, in the likes of Pra River, Ankobra, Birim, Tano, Bia, Ofin and the Volta Rivers to stop the ongoing illegality.

Secondly, with the assistance of the Forestry Commission, the Army should alao conduct an operation in the various forest reserves ro flush out all such operations. And thirdly, the Minirals Commission should deal with large scale companies with prospecting licences who are parcelling lands and selling to foreignfor illegal practices. For illegal operators in the hinterlands where it would be difficult to enforce laws, they proposed education.

In addition, he said legal miners who wash their tailings into water bodies, should adapt the 3-stage pond system for tailings. And in the current economic knowledge, education is the key to high performance, therefore, they support the educational programmes being rolled out by UMat and pledge to sponsore some of their workers to participate in the certificate programmes in small-scale mining administration.

“We hope that, small-scale mining will be mainstreamed as a major economic activity in the country, so that companies who are compliant can be earmarked for incentives and subsidies such as is happening in the agricultural sector.

GNASSM knows that, the first mine was a small-scale mine and believes that, the last mine in Ghana will be a small-scale mine.

By: Sammy Adjei/ Newsghana.com.gh