Professor Frimpong Boateng, Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, has disclosed government’s roadmap for lifting of the ban on artisanal and small-scale mining.
This comes after cabinet approved the roadmap to regulate activities on small-scale and artisanal mining.
Government, last year placed an initial six-month ban on artisanal and small scale mining following the prevalence of illegal mining popularly known as “galamsey’’ across the country.
The ban however has faced an extension in order for government to fully sanitise the mining sector.
Though Prof. Boateng was not forthcoming with an exact date, he outlined a number of activities that will precede the lifting of the ban. He however hinted that the current extension period will be up to December.
Two broad areas of activity to prompt lifting the ban will be: (i) monitoring, compliance, enforcement and sanctions of illegal mining activities, and (ii) reclamation of degraded lands.
These will involve “the reclaiming and re-afforestation of mined-out areas; the restoration of impacted water bodies; strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licenses and associated permits; continued formalization and regulation of the small scale mining sector,” he said.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng, who is Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) made this announcement, Thursday August 16, during a media engagement in Accra.
He explained that, per President Akufo-Addo’s directive, the IMCIM undertook a tour to form and inaugurate adhoc District Committees on Illegal Mining (DCIMs).
A total of 60 adhoc DCIMs have been formed across the country.
They are to support the IMCIM in the fight against ‘’galamsey’’ at the district level.
He said a software application dubbed; ‘’GalamSTOP’’ has been developed and installed on 80 ruggedized tablets procured by the IMCIM secretariat to help the DCIMs and other stakeholders use satellite imagery and drone technology in monitoring illegal mining activities across the country.
‘’GalamSTOP will integrate data from the various stakeholder agencies; Operation Vanguard, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Minerals Commission, Water Resources Commission and District Assemblies,’’ he explained.
So far, 2,400 illegal and small-scale miners have been trained in sustainable mining practices and minerals processing at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) following dialogues and collaboration with the Small-Scale Miners Association.
UMaT is training, further, 144 persons under the Nation Builders Corps (NABCO) programme as drone pilots, of which10 will be for the IMCIM, 18 for Operation Vanguard, 15 for the Minerals Commission, among other agencies.
Government also intends to vet and verify the 1,350 legally registered artisanal and small-scale mining companies to regularize any discrepancies where possible.
Prof. Boateng advised illegal and small-scale miners to permanently desist from the use of unauthorised methods of mining to allow government implement the roadmap.
By Mawuli Y. Ahorlumegah