The government last year placed a ban on the small-scale mining to help control its negative impact on the environment.
It has however struggled to settle on a date to lift it, with the Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu, recently stating that, not until there was a permanent improvement in the country’s water bodies, the ban would not be lifted.
Coordinator of Third World Network Africa, Dr. Yao Graham in an interview with JoyBusiness called on the government to put its house in order and lift the ban immediately.
“Clear confusion in government about the way forward with regards to the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining. And this is very worrying. We in Third World Network Africa have always insisted that the ban on small-scale mining on good was misguided in the first place, in so far as it included legitimate small-scale miners,” Dr Graham stated.
He said, “people’s businesses have been destroyed, and there seems to be no remedy or even sensitivity to this effect on the same guys and it’s important for the government to end what we sense to be incoherent. Is it the problem of which Ministry is leading the process which will lead to the lifting of the ban or what exactly is the problem?” he questioned
There has been a sharp division over whether or not the government should lift the ban with some civil society groups including the TWN and some members of the diplomatic corps insisting that, the ban should be lifted now.
There are others who believe the ban should not be lifted until there are massive improvements in the country’s water bodies.
With the legalised small-scale miner saying they have lost close to Gh¢700 million over the period of the ban, Dr Graham disclosed that “there are rumours that there is disagreement within government on how to move forward with the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining.”
President Akufo-Addo has served notice of government’s intention to lift the ban on illegal mining activities within the framework of a comprehensive road-map to restore sanity to the small-scale mining sector.
It is quite obvious that government is reeling under pressure from the GNASSM and civil society which insists it must live up to its promise of lifting the ban on small-scale mining.
The government earlier in 2017 imposed a six-month ban on small-scale mining as part of efforts to end illegal mining and its related activities, which adversely affected the environment, particularly water bodies and forest reserves.