Community Mining Has Well-Regulated Framework Since 2021
– Minerals Commission Dispels Misinformation
The Minerals Commisssion has reiterated that the Community Mining Scheme initiative, being rolled out by government and which is creating jobs for many in the mining areas of the country, is not the same as the much-abhorred illegal small-scale mining, otherwise called “galamsey.”
According to the commission, there are so many misconceptions and misinformation being thrown into the public domain, which must be corrected, because public education is very important in every field of human endeavor.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi, explained that, unlike the usual illegal mining activity, the community mining scheme has a well-established operational manual, or framework, since September, 2021that governs its operations and certain protocols.
“There are certain protocols, and some arrangements in the manual, you have to follow it. So, in the operational manual, you need to have an office, conference room, reception, clinic [first aid], you supposed to have a changing room – so that when you come to work you can change yourself,” he stated.
He stressed that, the entire process is well-regulated, the commission tracks the operations of the scheme, and knows its owners and all stakeholders, including the chiefs, who are properly consulted before the licence is issued.
Speaking on Accra-based Asempa FM last Thursday, August 3, in an interview, monitored by The Anchor, Mr. Ayisi wondered why some critics are in haste to put out anything in the media without taking the trouble to find details about what they intended to put across.
He explained that, “before any community mining will be commissioned, unless the District Inspector of the Minerals Commission has gone to the land, has identified the place, do inspection, speak to the DCE, speak to the assemblyman and assembly members, the chiefs have been properly consulted, who the owners are, and how they are going to organize it, before we process the application.”
He indicated that there are guidelines in place that govern the operations of the scheme and it is, therefore, out of place for anyone to suggest there is none available.
“We developed an operational manual to govern community mining and small-scale mining scheme in September 2021.This is regulated, we know them [owners/management], the officers will visit them, they will file production return, we monitor where the gold will go; the ceremony too, it’s the chief that presides over it…you can’t just go to a chief and tell him come and preside over just anything, No,” he explained.
The CEO told listeners that the initiative is “lawful” and, therefore, people should disregard the misinformation about it, adding “I don’t know if people are just in a haste to put out things in the media. The chiefs know about it, the assembly, Minerals Commission all know about it.”
He said it is unfortunate some people only rush to the media without crosschecking the facts.
“So, why will someone go and write in a graphic that ‘Develop A Framework to Govern Community Mining’? We rush too much. So, that person who wrote that article, he could have just walked to Minerals Commission and called Minerals Commission and say, ‘Do you have any operational manual? And it is not only this one that governs them, the Health and Safety Regulations too, which govern the what small-scale community mining is supposed to operate,” he said.
According to him, all these operational guides have been sent to members of the Small-Scale Miners Association and they follow it.
Mr. Ayisi stated that, just last Wednesday, thousands of people who had been engaged in “galamsey” in the Amansie West district in the Ashanti Region for sometime now were employed, after the commissioning of three community mining schemes.
“They don’t have to look over their shoulders to see if some policemen or soldiers are coming after them. Now, they are gainfully employed. This is what we must replicate all over and you can imagine if we are able to replicate all these,” he said.
He indicated that the project is impacting on many livelihoods and, therefore, collapsing it will affect people, adding “And if this goes on well, unemployment issues will be reduced.”
The Minerals Commission boss stressed that there is lots of misinformation out there, and it has to be clarified that there are structures and framework put in place to govern the policy.
“So, that professor or doctor or lecturer that wrote that ‘develop a framework to govern community mining’ then I realized the man should have called Minerals Commission. If you are doing research, ask question…don’t you have this in place, don’t you think this or that before you go ahead and write your article. So, I decided to come to show this man that this thing has been in existence since 2021,” Mr. Ayisi said.