Bawumia’s Vision For Community Mining Receives Rousing Welcome
…Ashanti, Tarkwa Small-Scale Miners Others Rally Support For Policy
The comprehensive vision of the flagbearer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia to transform the small-scale mining industry and open more new community mining schemes to create wealth, has been received with excitement by small-scale miners across the country.
They mentioned that, the impact of community mining in Ghana’s economy is huge, especially in terms of job creation, hence the idea to give the sector a facelift, while adhering to responsible mining practices, is commendable.
During his address to the nation on Wednesday, February 7, 2024, to unveil his vision for the industry if elected President, Dr. Bawumia promised that, apart from establishing a pension scheme for small-scale miners, his government will also convert old mining pits into community mining schemes and open more new ones.
“We will, in collaboration with the large mining companies, convert abandoned shafts into community mining schemes and open more new community mining schemes,” he stated.
This has been warmly welcomed by players in the sector who described the vison as commendable and inspiring.
They argued that, despite the huge opportunities the community mining scheme initiative offers the youth in terms of jobs, coupled with benefits the country derive, the concept has been rather demonized and bastardized, instead of working to improve it.
Managing Director (MD) of Tarkwa Community Mining, Mark Diamond Aduhene Conduah, speaking told The Anchor, said they received the Vice President policy document on mining with all the happiness one could think about.
He said speaking from perspective where he belongs and Tarkwa Community Mining, being the first ever scheme commissioned, he understands the numerous benefits the youths derived from the project since its implementation and the impact it had on the entire community.
According to him, the policy document by the NPP flagbearer has given them cause to fully endorse him, ad offer him every necessary support he deserves to become president so that, his policy for the mining sector can be implemented.
“…That is basically why we are endorsing the vice president and flagbearer of NPP, we want to support him, give him all the support he needs for him to ascend the high office of the president so that he can also implement his policy documents he has on small scale mining so that we can all benefit,”Aduhene Conduah stated.
He emphasized that, if radically implemented, along with the government’s efforts to create more jobs, the initiative will benefit not only indigenes within the mining communities but also, Ghanaian youths, as a whole, hence their excitement.
“We receive it with all the happiness you can think about. This is because small-scale mining has been demonized by successive governments, except the NPP government which has, at least, enabled us to also be so proud to talk about our profession as small-scale miners.
We’ve actually shifted from the galamsey orientation and now we talk about small scale mining and community mining. So, we received what the Vice President said and in fact, his policy document on small scale mining with all the happiness you could think about,” he added.
Dr. Bawumia, speaking on the theme: “Ghana’s Next Chapter: Selfless Leadership and Bold Solutions for the Future,” said about one million Ghanaians were engaged in small-scale mining, hence the need to transform those miners to practice responsible mining, create more wealth, and protect the environment.
“About one million people are engaged in small scale mining. Our goal would be to help small scale mining companies to grow into large scale companies with capacity building and skills to access financing to acquire equipment. We can create many millionaires in the small-scale mining industry if we support them,” Dr. Bawumia said.
“My government will support the Minerals Commission and key stakeholders to formalise the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector with the objective of ensuring that the activities of the entire value chain are sustainably and responsibly done.”
That would ensure that most of the gold produced by this sector could be sold to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and be eligible to be part of the gold reserves of the Central Bank,” the NPP Flagbearer said.
The Kofi Ohene Konadu Auditorium of the University of Professional Studies, Accra (UPSA) where the forum was held, was filled to capacity with enthusiastic party supporters and sympathizers having to find space outside the auditorium.
In line with that, he said his government “would license all miners doing responsible mining. District mining committees, including chiefs, will provide initial temporary licenses to the miners.”
“As long as miners mine within the limits of their licenses, there will be no mining in river or water bodies, there will no longer be any seizure or burning of excavators,” he said, adding that, he will further deepen the decentralization of the Minerals Commission as well as Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ensure that they are present in all mining districts.
Dr. Bawumia said, under his government, every Ghanaian in small-scale mining would be registered under the Ghana Small Scale Miners Association with their Ghana card.
“We will, in collaboration with the large mining companies, convert abandoned shafts into community mining schemes and open more new community mining schemes.”
Other initiatives include a pension scheme for small-scale miners similar to what pertains in the cocoa sector for cocoa farmers.
He intends to introduce vocational and skills training on sustainable mining for small-scale miners in the curriculum of TVET institutions.
He would provide equipment to government authorities in mining communities to undertake reclamation of land, set up state of the art common user gold processing units in mining districts, in collaboration with the private sector, and conduct an audit of all concessions with various licenses.
“To encourage exploration, a Bawumia-government will abolish the VAT on exploration services (like assaying) to encourage more exploration,” he assured.
He said, “We will establish, in collaboration with the private sector, a Minerals Development Bank to support the mining industry. “We will establish (through the private sector) a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) certified gold refinery in Ghana within four years.”
According to him, “All responsibly mined small scale gold produced would be sold to the Central Bank, Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC) and Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF), which would be required to be refined before export.”