It’s A Lazy Man’s Approach, Insensitive

Members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) have rubbished calls for a total ban on small-scale mining in the country, describing it as “preposterous, insensitive and a lazy man’s approach.”

They stated that, discussions surrounding small-scale mining activities in the sector should be properly addressed without emotions in order to save the environment.

According to the association, even though the group disagreed with those calling for a ban on small-scale mining activities, they are ready to team up with any group to halt the illegal menace.

At a press conference in Kumasi yesterday, the general secretary of the association, Godwin Amarh, said, “Although we don’t agree with the Christian Council, OccupyGhana, 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.”

He said, “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.”

The reaction by the Small-Scale Miners follows the recent demand by some religious leaders, drawn from all religious groups in the country, pushing for an immediate ban on all small scale mining activities in the country as part of efforts to deal with ‘galamsey.’

It follows the devastating effect the menace has had on the environment, after the religious group visited some ‘galamsey’ sites.

Addressing a news conference in Accra, the national president of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International (FGBMFI), Emmanuel Baba Mahama, said all small scale mining, whether legal or not legal, must be banned.

“We call for the immediate ban of all small scale mining,” he declared.

But the Small-Scale Miners think otherwise, as they believe the regulatory agencies should be able to identify and punish recalcitrant individualsengaged in the menace and allow those doing legitimate work to continue with their business without any hindrance.

They contended: “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 licence to mine on river bodies so anyone mining on water body is a “galamseyer.”

The associationalso proposed a bi-partisan and community enforcement approach to tacklethe canker.

According to them, “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 programmes to rid small-scale mining off illegal acts.

GNASSMAdopts Birim River

Meanwhile, the association is waging a fight to restore the Birim River to its former glory by reducing its turbidity level, which is currently in a sorry-state at 33NTU.

The group stated that, as an association, they are concerned and committed to the cause, because if there is a ban on small-scale mining, they are first to be affected most.

As a result, they will not disappoint Ghanaians in the task ahead, but will ensure the recalcitrant miners behind the pollution of river bodies are flushed out, without fear of favour.

At a ceremony to officially “hand over” the river to the association in Accra last Thursday, October 13, a deputy minister, George MirekuDuker, said the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and Ghanaians generally are expectant that the association will deliver on its new task.

Source: Anchorghana

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