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"Gov't Is Committed And Determined To Sanitize Small Scale Mining Industry" - Lands Minister

Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Samuel A. Jinapor has reiterated that the Akufo-Addo Administration is committed and determined to sanitize small scale mining industry in Ghana.


The Minister made these pronouncements at the launch of the Responsible Small Scale Mining Awards 2022 in Accra on Friday.


Addressing Journalists, he said "I would like to reiterate that the President and the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is not against small scale mining but is absolutely committed and determined to continue with efforts to sanitize the small scale mining industry in Ghana.


The Minister however pointed out strongly that inspite of all these measures, the Ministry has deemed it necessary to also reward and promote responsible small scale miners and recognise them to also serve as a meaures to curb the menace and to confirm government's resolve of not being against small-scale mining but rather committed to sanitizing and inproving the industry.


Mr. Jinapor urged takeholders to work closely together and help promote the mining industry in Ghana.


He explained the rationale for the awards scheme saying "while clamping down illegal mining, there is the need for a conscious effort to also promote legal and responsible small scale mining. This is the rationale behind the Responsible Small Scale Mining Awards"


The Lands also noted that contrary to suggestions from critics that the President Akufo-Addo administration is against small-scale mining, the government recognizes small-scale mining as key component of the country’s mining regime and is determined to sanitize it.


"Although the sector has been bedeviled with many practices that are unacceptable with consequences of adverse impact on the country’s riverbodies, landscape and forestcover, it is also an important sector that contributes up to 40% of the country’s gold output and therefore government is very mindful of the sector, ensuring that it is well managed"


He also recounted a number of these measures include the national and regional dialogue, operation Halt, the reformative efforts we are making through community mining, the mercury-free Gold processing machine we procured and the National Aternative livelihood programme we've rolled out".


Hon. Jinapor noted that this year's awards scheme is going to see to the expansion of the number of awardees.


Outlining some of the the categories for the awards, he said "We will have one for the Best Female Small-Scale Miner, Best Male Small-Scale Miner, Best Small-Scale Miner in Environmental Stewardship and Best Small-Scale Miner in Corporate Social Responsibility"


The others include: Best Gold Exporter. Best Metropolitan/Municipal or District Chief Executive and Best Traditional Leader


Taking his turn, General Secretary of the Ghana Small-scale Miners Association, Godwin Armah thanked government for introducing the awards scheme.


He added that the assertion shows how importance government accords the small-scale mining sector and it's contributuon to national development.


Mr. Armah stressed that the awards scheme will help the small-scale miners work sustainably.


He appealed for the support of government and the Ministry to fight illegal small scale mining on the Birim River which he said is a project they have taken upon themselves as an Association.


The National Small-Scale Mining Awards is a brainchild of the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources which seeks to celebrate those who adhere to the health, safety and environmental standards guiding their mining operations.


Background

In 2021, Daakye Mining Enterprise, a mining company located at Wassa Gyapa, Amenfi East District in the Western Region of Ghana was adjudged the Overall Best Small Scale Mining company at the maiden edition of the Responsible Small Scale Mining Awards.


The Enterprise was adjudged Overall Best Miner on the basis of the company managing a mining site with valid Mining and environmental licence and digging permit.


The Enterprise was said to have a well coordinated working system with good records keeping, an emergency assembly point, first aid kits and other relevant requirements which makes the company outstanding and worthy of the prize awarded them.


Daakye Mining Enterprise took home a plaque, a mining equipment known as a gold catcher, worth USD 125,000 and a sponsored trip to a mining conference. This award was presented by the Vice President of the Republic, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia.


Aside the Overall Best Small Scale Miner, the event presented other three categories including the Most Promising Small Scale Miner, Best District Officer and a special award from the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources.

The Most Promising Small Scale Miner award which was presented by the Hon. Chief of Staff, Hon. Akosua Osei-Opare, was given to Mr. Bright Kwabena Obeng of Beloved Mining Enterprise, Assin Fosu Mining District. Mr. Obeng also took with him a plague and a sponsored trip to a mining conference.


The next award was presented by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor to Mr. Clemence Adzormahe as the Best District Officer, noted for his regular visit to sites and  hardwork.


The last of the four awards for the night was the Special Award, presented to Omanhene Kwabena Asante of Adom TV for his consistent efforts towards sanitizing the sector. He received a cash price of Ghs10,000 and a citation from Hon. George Mireku Duker who did the presentation.


As part of efforts to encourage and promote Responsible Small-Scale Mining in the country, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources instituted the Responsible Small Scale Mining Awards Scheme.


Story by: Joshua Kwabena Smith


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