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Government to train small scale miners and journalists on sustainable mining

By Lydia
Asamoah/Mohammed Abdul Rashid GNA

Accra,
July 19, GNA – Members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners
(GNASSM) would be trained together with some journalists on sustainable mining
practices as part of Government’s effort to address the challenge of illegal
mining.

The
training, scheduled to take-off between July and August would involve batches
of miners and journalists who would be hosted at the University of Mines and
Technology (UMaT) at Tarkwa in the Western Region.

Professor
Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and
Innovation (MESTI), who announced the training programme on Wednesday at a
press conference, said Government has provided an initial fund of GH¢500,000.00
to kick-start the training.

He
said a total of 50 small scale miners including mine owners,  miners 
and 25 journalists would constitute the first batch of the close to
1,000 targeted miners and journalists to be trained.

The
Minister said the miners would be trained on how to “extract gold without using
mercury” since the use of mercury was going to be banned in the country in
fulfilment of the Minnesota Convention that Ghana had signed onto.

Journalists,
who have played critical role in the campaign against illegal mining, would
also be trained to appreciate the issues of mining and help educate the public
and communities on the need to preserve the environment.

He
said the use of mercury in mining over the years has polluted many river bodies
in the country and even that of neighbouring Ivory Coast while endangering the
sustainability of the environment.

Prof
Frimpong-Boateng said due to the activities of illegal miners, about seven per
cent of Ghana’s land mass was polluted and all the major rivers except the
Volta Lake, had been polluted.

He
said the stance taken by the government was all about the illegality in the
mining sector with some miners abandoning the mining site without reclaiming
the land.

He
called on mining concession owners to go back to reclaim the abandoned mining
land.

The
Minister, however, noted that there were some small scale miners who were
following the right processes in their mining activities and it was unfortunate
that they had been affected by the moratorium on all activities of small scale
miners for the time being.

Mr
Godwin Amarh, General Secretary of GNASSM, commended government for the offer
to help train the miners in sustainable mining and expressed the members’
readiness to collaborate in sanitizing the mining sector.

He
said members have gone round to arrest and destroy more than 3,000 dredgers but
a lot more were still on the river beds and that would require government
assistance through the Navy to help in taking them off the river bodies.

He
called on the government to consider restoring the licensed small scale miners
affected by the moratorium back to their work after the six months period.

Ms
Carol Annang, Managing Director of New Times Corporation, who is also a member
of the Media Coalition against Illegal Mining, commended government for showing
courage and sustaining the momentum in the fight against illegal mining.

She
urged the media to continue to be the voice of the voiceless being affected due
to the illegal activities of the miners.

She
called on them to report on the good practices of some of the miners who were
following the mining regulations in their areas of operation saying not all
miners were engaged in illegal activities.

GNA

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