The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) and the Ghana National Association Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU to ensure responsible mining in Ghana.
This forms part of the celebration of the first Sustainable Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Awareness Day held at Tarkwa in the Western Region, on the theme ‘Commitment to sustainable ASM, a win-win situation’.
In a preamble to a declaration jointly signed by the Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Prof. Richard Kwasi Amankwah and the National President of GNASSM, Philip Akufo, noted that, the ASM sector has a strong potential not only for poverty alleviation, but also for wealth creation.
The sector, it said, employed over one million people directly, supports about 20 percent of Ghana’s population and also serves as an avenue for the development of skills and the growing of indigenous entrepreneurs.
“The sector accounts for 35 percent of national gold production and contributes to national value addition but, it has a mix of responsible and irresponsible miners, with the irresponsible ones overshadowing to work of the former, leading to environmental degradation and pollution.
“Taking into consideration the past, the present and the future of the ASM sector, we, multi-stakeholder participants of the 1st Sustainable Artisanal and Small-scale Mining Awareness Day, on June 2, 2021, reaffirm the contribution of ASM to enhanced livelihoods and sustainable development,” it added.
The declaration continued: “We, therefore, declare our commitment to sustainable and responsible mining activities that ensures the protection of our lands, water bodies, forest and communities.”
According to the statement, GNASSM will ensure that members and associates adopt practices that avoid and minimize the environmental damages due to extraction and processing of ore and assist government and regulators to deal with recalcitrant members whose activities do not abide by the governing principles of the sector.
Also, GNASSM, said it will empower and equip taskforce to effectively monitor and enforce sustainable and responsible mining; and support key stakeholders such as UMaT to develop appropriate support systems for sustainable and responsible mining.
UMaT on its part, declared its commitment to train, provide technical advice and support to all stakeholders involved in the ASM sector to ensure sustainable and responsible activities that warrants the protection of our lands, water bodies and forest.
The statement added that the key responsibilities is to assist governments to strengthen effective monitoring of the sector; support the government to formulate and develop ASM compatible regulations for environmental protection as well as lead research and development of environmentally friendly technologies to make the sector safer and very productive
UMaT concludes that they will lead in the restoration of the degraded ecosystem (rivers and degraded lands) as well as develop proactive strategies together with other stakeholders’ in dealing with the challenges facing the sector.