Small-scale mining sensitisation will help achieve sustainable industry


Stakeholders in the extractive sector are pushing for setting aside a national day on small-scale mining to enhance public responsiveness as part of efforts to realise a sustainable mining sector.

According to Head of the Geological Department at the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Dr. Asante Annor, a ‘Small-scale Mining Awareness Day’ would be a good platform to educate people on mining activities as well as highlight the positive and negative sides.

Speaking in an interview on the side-lines of the 4th DAAD Alumni Conference that was held in Tarkwa, Dr. Annor said a Small-scale Mining Awareness Day would offer a chance to underscore how mining activity can be done in the right way, using the right methods and equipment.

This will also include discouraging the practice of processing minerals in water-bodies, among others.

“We need to create awareness that we have the resources but we need to mine them sustainably, and this is by using methods that are friendly to the environment,” he added.

Dr. Annor, who is also the Local Organising Committee Project Coordinator of DAAD Alumni, argued that efforts must be made to address the hazards associated with small-scale mining activities.

He was confident that enhancing public knowledge on the adverse effect of ‘irresponsible’ mining practices is key to achieving a sustainable mining sector.

“If we as a country can celebrate sustainable mining, it will create the needed awareness and also generate the needed acceptance,” he stated.

The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker – who delivered the keynote address during the Conference’s opening session, noted the mining sector’s importance to the local economy.

Since inception of the economic recovery programme in the 1980s, the mining industry has grown significantly as a key backbone of Ghana’s economy. “Between 2013 and 2020, the industry saw an average growth of 20% per annum,” he added.

According to the Deputy Minister, the small-scale mining sector alone is reported to employ a minimum of one million locals; whereas the large-scale sector employs a fraction of that at about 30,000.

Against this background, he stated that: “We cannot render over one million Ghanaians unemployed by placing a ban on small-scale mining; but we must assist and guide them to mine responsibly and sustainably”.

He said government is not against small-scale mining, but for responsible mining in the small-scale mining sector.

At the back of the current problems being faced with illegal mining in the country, he noted that the theme for the Conference, Sustainable Mining, Natural Resource Awareness and Social Acceptance of Mining, is timely.

He asserted that it is critical to creating awareness of the impact of mining, emphasising good mining practices.

Meanwhile, he commended the German Academic Exchange Services – DAAD, for facilitating, sponsoring and creating an enabling environment for Ghanaians and African students in pursuit of their education.

He assured that government will continue to rely on the contributions of academia in building a sustainable industry while urging DAAD to continue sustaining the initiative.

In all, some 26 Ghanaian students are said to have graduated from Technische Universitat Bergakademie Freiberg in various disciplines through the programme.

Also, 60 Ghanaian students have completed short-term non-degree programmes, with 32 students additionally enrolled.

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