Civil society organisations have asked President Nana Akufo Addo to be circumspect in his decision to lift the ban on small scale mining as he promised recently.
They have called on government to set the rules and make the laws specific as to who qualifies to engage in small scale mining while defaulters would be punished. Failure to do this would result in a return to the era of irresponsible and illegal mining.
Speaking exclusively to Goldstreet Business, Gideon Peasah, technical officer of Penplusbyte, a civil society group said “It has been a year and a half since government placed the ban on illegal mining. This was to give room for government to put measures to effectively regulate the activity and to mitigate the huge externality caused by this act.
“In the past year and half, some successes have been chalked, especially, improvement in raw water turpidity levels which has led to a reduction in the cost of water treatment by Ghana Water Company. I am aware that water treatment plants that were shut down due to the impact of small scale mining and illegal mining activities are running. The important decision of placing the ban has reduced the cost of raw water treatment”.
“Other tremendous benefits of the ban include improved security, health, social safety and environmental impact. If we mine responsibly we may not have to import water as some experts posit.
For me, weighing the costs and benefits of the ban and considering its future implications on the remaining population, it’s worth maintaining the ban. I am really informed that government will lift the ban by the 3rd quarter of this year. I have seen evidence of this.
On his part, Yaw Kyei, an economist and investment analyst suggest “if government can sign a contract with the small-scale operators to know their limits and properly monitor them to do proper reclamation of destroyed sites after mining.
Small scale miners should also be made to deposit an amount of money with government so should the firm fail to reclaim the land that money would be used for the reclamation exercise.
“If government cannot do this then it must forget about lifting the ban since it will take us back to our previous state of land and environmental destruction” he concluded.
By Adu Koranteng