The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources is set to stifle Chinese nationals from the small scale mining sector through the acquisition and supply of mining machinery to indigenous miners.
100 of the equipment have reportedly been imported at a cost of US$113,000 each and 20 are expected to arrive within the country in the next two weeks, which the Ministry said would be a game-changer in the sector.
The machinery, which has the capacity to reduce the use of mercury in small scale mining will ensure Ghana honours her commitment under the Minamata Convention on the use of mercury and also ensure the devastation on water bodies and the environment is reduced drastically.
Minister for Housing and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, disclosed this at the Minister’s Press Briefing at the Ministry of Information on recent development in the mining sector yesterday.
He indicated that the President is very determined on the indigenization of mining in the country and noted that his strategy when it comes to small scale mining is the number of reforms being introduced in the sector.
According to him, the enforcement regime is important but reforms that consider the entire spectrum of the sector and addresses the challenges and yet do not deny Ghanaians the opportunity to make a living in the industry is more important.
He averred that deploying multiple soldiers to stop illegal mining does not eventually address the problem and noted that government also has a responsibility and obligation to provide a conducive environment and a proper regulatory framework within which it will have the moral authority to insist on compliance.
He averred that the old adage of a gold mine is about a lot of money involving billions of dollars hence it is the government’s responsibility to create the framework to retain a significant value of the mineral in Ghana.
He said, “It will take policy interventions, legislative interventions and local content interventions to ensure that we indigenize the mining sector of our country.”
“That is another major preoccupation of President Akufo-Addo and he never minced words on that throughout.”
Mr. Abu Jinapor noted that the extractive sector across the world is mostly bedevilled with challenges; be it in the petrochemical industry, the gold or diamond industry.
He averred that where there is extraction there is money and therefore people would be determined to make as much of that money as possible by hook or crook.
He assured that the Ministry is ahead of criminals in the sector but admitted it is not a suggestion all the problems in the sector has been addressed and added, “Not at all, we cannot resolve all the problems in the mining sector within the period we have been in office and it is not possible to resolve all the problems ever.”
“What is important is to take the sector to a satisfactory situation where the country is reasonably assured it has a safe and proper regulatory framework and a regime that responds to eventualities and issues when they arise. And that the state is on the right track and all that we do is anchored on integrity and transparency.”
In his presentation, the Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission, Martin Kwaku Ayisi indicated that the importation of the machinery is part of strategies to sanitize the small scale mining sector.
According to him, as part of new developments in the industry, the Ministry and the Commission have improved the licensing regime through digitalization which provides a very convenient way of engaging the Commission on gold prospecting.
He averred that paper-based applications have been abolished while all records are being digitized and expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
“Companies now file returns online while online applications for small scale has also commenced with the system configured to accept payment by mobile money,” he disclosed.
Mr. Ayisi stated that despite the tremendous strides that have been made challenges still persist because illegal mining, smuggling of gold from SSM resulting in a significant fall in production, encroachment of quarry sites among others still go on.