Over US$3 billion is estimated to be used to reclaim lands destroyed by illegal mining activities, General Secretary of the Association of Small Scale Miners, Godwin Armah has said.
It is in this light that the Association of Small Scale Miners says it’s unacceptable for the government taskforce to burn excavators which will be used to reclaim the lands.
Mr. Armah told Joy Business the present approach by the government taskforce [military] to stop illegal mining is wrong.
“We should find creative means in ensuring that the same people [illegal miners] who destroyed the environment are held responsible and reclaim the pits that they left. Government doesn’t have the resources to do that because it is estimated over US$3 or US$4 billion will be needed to do this reclamation; where are we going to get that money?
“That money can be used to build hospitals, to build roads, to build schools and all that; so we should find creative means. The same machines that are being destroyed can be used to reclaim lands”, he explained.
In proffering a solution to the challenge, Mr. Armah said the Association of Small Scale Miners will collaborate with the ministry [Lands and Natural Resources] so that the burning of the excavators will be looked at again.
“We are going to ensure that we collaborate with the ministry so that this will be looked at. But also we need to emphasize that members of the association whose equipment have been burnt will not sit aloof. We will ensure that we get justice for those people who have gone through the process to acquire their license. I will urge all small scale miners to be calm”, he stressed.
Small scale miners contributed 42% of gold production in 2017
The Association of Small Scale Miners said it contributed 42% of gold contribution in 2017 during the ban on small scale mining.
“So clearly, it shows that there is something fundamentally wrong with our approach. Now that the military is burning equipment that we will be able to use to reclaim the pits, how are we going back to reclaim those pits?
“Yes, we know the situation is getting out of hand and we need drastic measures. But we should find creative means in ensuring that that the same people who destroyed the environment are held responsible and reclaim the pits that they left”, he added.