Kumasi, May 20, GNA – Small-Scale Mining Association in Kumasi has implored the government to immediately lift the six months moratorium on illegal mining activities in the country.
According to them, the ban had severely affected their livelihoods and many people whose livelihoods depended on mining.
Mr Gordwin Armah, the Secretary of the Association, made the call when more than 200 members of the Association held a crunch meeting with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, in Kumasi, on Friday.
Mr Armah said members of the Association had been licensed by the Minerals Commission and operated within the framework of the mining law, and should therefore be excluded from the ban.
He said the Association had formed a taskforce that was complementing government’s efforts to rid-of bad elements in the mining business.
“Our taskforce arrested some miners who were mining in water bodies at Konongo recently and handed them over to the Police,”he said.
He said if the ban was not lifted, it would negatively affect their investments in the mining business since some of them had taken loans from banks and other financial institutions with high interest rates to pay.
Responding to their request, Mr John Peter Amewu , the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said the ban on mining was to sanitise the sector in view of the devastation it had caused to the environment and water bodies.
He said government was not against mining but the methodology being employed by some miners.
He said some bad elements used cynanide, mercury and failed to reclaim the mined areas, hence the ban to sanitise the system.
Mr Amewu said after the expiration of the six months moratorium, the seven-member Ministerial committee formed by government to oversee the implementation of the directive would review the ban and decide the way forward.
He said the ban was in the best interest of the nation because government wanted mining to be conducted in a sustainable manner with local miners benefitting instead of foreigners.
Government in April this year, directed all small-scale mining activities to be stopped and asked miners to evacuate their equipment from the mining sites.
By Godwill Arthur-Mensah, GNA