‘Deserted mining pits and lands will be reclaimed’– Small Scale Miners Association
The Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners has indicated its readiness to partner academia and other relevant institutions in the country to reclaim all deserted mining pits and polluted lands.
To this end, the Group said they were prepared to engage mining experts and scholars at the University of Mines and Technology, to devise some strategies to undertake the reclamation exercise.
This action, which they said was required, will be carried out without any exception, whether it was the cause of some of the members of the Association or the illegal miners.
They observed that the Association is well placed to undertake the reclamation exercise, for which reason government does not to need to go "begging for funds to do this."
They explained that the recent government's directive to halt all forms of small-scale mining activities, in the country, resulted in some of their members leaving pits and other areas they were working in uncovered.
The Association, at a joint press conference with Heavy Duty Machinery Operators Association in Kumasi, has therefore asked its members to return to their sites, with their equipment to cover those pits in order to avert any unfortunate occurrences.
They disclosed that the ban, suspending all mining activities and demobilizing their machinery for a six-months period,compelled them to set up a task force to fight illegal mining activities among others.
This move, according to the Secretary of the Association, Mr. Kwame Preprah Micheal, with the help of the Police led to the arrest of 220galamsey operators and confiscation of about 2,075 locally made dredging machines which were being used to pollute water bodies.
He said these people are facing prosecution, and insisted that the task force was commissioned and funded by the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners "and not the Member of Parliament of Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm, as he claims."
On their part, the heavy-duty machinery operators said the ban on small-scale mining activities is adversely affecting them since most of them are employed by the small-scale miners.
They asserted that "small scale mining does not have an adverse effect on the environment. It is rather the attitude and the mode of operations of some small-scale miners" which pollutes the environment.
They said despite all the good reasons behind the government's ban, in attempts to address the damage being caused by illegal mining in the country,the welfare of heavy-duty operators who have been rendered unemployed, should be considered.
The heavy-duty machinery operators, led by Daniel Ohene Gyan, among others proposed that government should empower the two associations to be able to regulate the activities of small-scale miners in the country.