he availability of necessary geological information and education to small scale miners can lead to better ways of small scale mining to change attitudes for sustainable mining activities in the sector.
Government and other stakeholders have therefore been called upon to put in place initiatives that will offer the necessary education and information about a concession to assist better mining activities and allow miners to evaluate the amount of resources contained in a concession which enhances exploration.
Godwin Amarh, Emmanuel Yirenkyi-Antwi, Kwaku Treveh and Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah of ASMAN, from Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) made the above appeal with this reporter during a recent courtesy call by the Deputy Director of Education and Australian Capacity, Robins Evans and Dr. Muza Gondwe both of International Mining for Development Centre (IM4DC) of Australia to the offices of ASMAN housed at African Center for Energy Policy (ACEP).
The leaders also commended University of Mines in Tarkwa for developing a program that has taken cognizance of the various educational structures, level of knowledge and experience of the miners so that many are not left out of capacity building and formal training. IM4DC is an interest group of alumni that have participated in mining related capacity building programs administered by Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) funded organizations including Australian Awards and Australian-African Partnership facility (AAPF).
The goals the IM4DC Day are for meaningful engagement, networking and the exchange of ideas between alumni that have been involved in mining related programs with IM4DC, Australians Awards and AAPF and also to identify and capture stories on the local mining for development context and Australia’s role in contributing to transformational change.
Over 80 Ghanaians who had previously attended the program met in Accra to exchange ideas on “new initiatives and best practice in Ghana. The occasion brought “ together talented alumni to encourage each other to apply expertise, skills and relationship built through this assistance to contribute to the broader development of Ghana to improve economic development and standards of living” says the Australian High Commission in Ghana.
Contributing, Godwin Amarh noted that the collapse of local industries such as timber, sawmills etc has fueled “galamsay” or illegal mining by the youth in various communities. Compounding that is the recent lay-offs by many mining companies. He spoke of the 4 Es which will focus on Empowerment, Engineering aspect of the mining, Educating the miners on the environmental consequences and Enforcement of regulations in the small scale mining businesses. The two-man delegation was taken through how small scale mining business is conducted in Ghana and the difficulties they go through to fund their businesses.
Robin & Gondwe
Responding, Robin Evans explained the different methods of mining techniques used in their country and how they are regulated. He wanted to know how safety measures were employed by the miners. The truth is that safety measures don’t matter to small scale miners as they don’t have the luxury to see to that. This has led to thousands of needless deaths in many mining communities daily. Some reported, many untold because of fear of government intervention or complete closure of pits, they were told. An alumnus and director of Research at ACEP, John Peter Amewu thanked the delegation and their continuous support to the sector adding that what they have seen is a testimony of the good work the training beneficiaries has received has done. He explained that the training has contributed significantly to the knowledge base in the sector.
Contributing, Mr Kwaku Treveh, a “Galamsay” student with extensive knowledge of the mining business in Ghana made very significant presentations to the delegation. He gave various scenarios and insights of the small scale mining business which he reckons must be assisted by all stakeholders to engage in legitimate business as the sector contributes a significant foreign exchange to Ghana’s economy.
He explained that every miner has two to three mouths he or she feeds and so constant harassing small scale miners is not a sustainable solution. Mr. Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah, Executive Director of ASMAN who organized and coordinated the visit to ACEP offices was full of praises for the support from the Australians. He was one of the key speakers of the IM4DC conference.