The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Oteng Gyasi, has disclosed that the ban on small scale mining imposed by her ministry, would be lifted in January 2018.
The government has placed a ban on all small scale mining activities in a move to streamline the licensing and operations of the sector.
She noted that lifting of the ban next year would pave way for members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners to be trained on sustainable mining practices as part of government’s efforts to address the challenge of illegal mining.
Ms Babara Oteng Gyasi also mentioned a number of measures to streamline activities of small-scale mining in the country.
She was speaking at a town hall meeting organized by the Prestea-Huni Valley District Assembly in collaboration with the Ministry of Information at Bogoso in the Western Region.
She explained that the government had decided to reshape the small scale mining industry so that its activities would go by set guidelines.
“This will enable small scale miners to work and earn their livelihoods in a regulated, secure and lawful environment. We will also endeavour to convert galamseyers into small scale miners,” she pointed out.
The deputy minister told the people that since it had become difficult for small scale miners to acquire licence to operate as individuals, the government had asked small scale miners to form co-operatives to enable them to access regulated concessions for mining.
“By so doing, the co-operatives will be encouraged to save some funds for a period of time to enable them acquire equipment that could be used to reclaim the land after mining,” she underscored.
On a speculation, Ms Babara Oteng Gyasi said to a hilarious applause, “….it is not true that this government has banned small scale mining. But rather, we will not allow foreigners to engage in small scale mining.”
She told the people that the Minerals Commission would establish satellite offices in the mining districts, adding that her ministry would also inaugurate district mining committees across the country to help streamline mining operations.
The District Chief Executive for the area, Mozart Owuh, said that the government’s free senior high school policy had drastically reduced the burden of paying school fees on parents, the MP and the he himself (DCE).
He pointed out that the assembly was determined to complete most of the projects started by the previous government in the district, including the payments of all outstanding debts owed contractors – totalling about GH¢783,944.