Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Africa Network (ASMAN) has organized a stakeholders’ forum to strategize the mainstreaming of small-scale mining sector as a catalyst for sustainable national development.
It was to provide an evidenced-based policy advocacy tool to ensure improvement in the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) sector in Ghana.
The workshop also served as a platform to find out strategies to implement research recommendations by the Ghana Chamber of Mines to harness the potential of ASM in the country.
The research focused on health and safety issues, as well as law and order, involvement of foreigners in ASM and interference by local authorities and enforcement agencies in mining communities across the country.
The research revealed some of the challenges facing ASM sector as child labour, environmental degradation and other health safety issues, political interference and legal and institutional challenges.
It also noted that when ASM’s are well supported and regulated, it could create employment for the youth in the country.
Speaking at the forum, Chief Executive Officer of Minerals Commission, Dr Toni Aubynn called for more support for the small scale industry.
“ASM is a risky business; so those working in that sector must be respected.”
He pledged the Commission’s commitment to work with stakeholders to implement principles of collaborative decision-making and shared responsibility for the resolution of social, environment and developmental issues related to mining.
Dr Toni Aubynn said the commission would continue to advocate the elimination of illegal mining in the country.
For his part, Executive Director for ASMAN, Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah said in order to harness the potential of small scale industry, the mining Act should be formulated to define ASM in line with current global trend and practice.
He said ASM is a vital component in the mining sector which if regulated well will generate a lot of revenue for Ghana.
Mr. Nii Adjetey was however worried about the inhumane approach adopted by the military taskforce to dealing with galamsey menace.
“For us at ASMAN, galamsey must be looked at from a causative angle instead of the effect. The menace is more of a poverty driven action which requires local and home grown solutions” he stressed.
Nii Adjetey-Kofi Mensah called on government to explore alternative options to fighting the galamsey menace.