The Executive Secretary of Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners(GNASSM) , Godwin Armah has disclosed to Radio360 that members of the Association are saddled with over 621 million dollars over the past 18 months due to the ban on small scale mining . Speaking on Radio 360 morning programme “Y3nsom” hosted by Kwame Malcolm in Takoradi, the small scale miners executive secretary revealed that in anticipation of the Thursday stakeholders meeting to examine a road map towards the lifting of the ban on small scale mining , he said almost 80 percent of the road map has been operationalized saying the good working relationship during the ban has engendered this. He revealed that with support from government hitherto unlicensed small scale miners have been guided to go through the necessary requirements to obtain the requisite licensing documents. He also added that anyone found contravening the acceptable standards will be exposed and said compliance officers are being assisted to ensure they work with the technical monitoring team to make all registered small scale miners adhere to best practices as any illegal equipment like “chanfan “found on any one catchment area will be held culpable. He said measures to ensure reclamation road maps are all in place by licensed small scale miners are all being ensured strictly by the association.
The Secretary of the Inter ministerial Mining Committee, Charles Onuawonto Bissue revealed that close to 3,000 prospective small scale miners have been taken through the necessary orientation to be licensed as small scale miners; he however fell short of specifically indicating the exact date when the ban on small scale mining will be lifted, saying that is the sole preserve of the President. He said the cost of saving the environment is far greater than the 621 million dollars that the small scale miners may have lost in the past 18months during the ban. He said over 5,000 excavators are in the country with 1000 excavators seized. He said over 2000 persons have been arrested for flouting the directive with 1000persons prosecuted.
He admitted that water bodies like Pra and Ankobra still remain polluted inspite of the ban although everyday people who flout the directive are apprehended under the Operation Vanguard exercise and made to face the law. He revealed that various hi tech measures like the use of drones to monitor those who will be licensed as over 220 drone pilots have been trained to man such gadgets under the National Builders Corps project. He said under the new arrangement a software known as “galamstop” has been introduced to serve as a one stop shop where one can obtain a small scale license under 90 days of application. He added that all small scale miners will have a securitized identification card system that will enable constant monitoring. He revealed the Thursday meeting is to examine the roadmap that has been ratified by cabinet.