The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) at Tarkwa in the Western Region and partners in the mining industry have commemorated the first Artisanal Small-Scale Mining, ASM Day at Tarkwa.
Key operators, regulators and policymakers came together to discuss challenges associated with sector such as regulation, environmental degradation and health concerns and to push an agenda towards sustainably develop the ASM sector.
Artisanal Small-Scale Mining (ASM) is as old as the mining industry in Ghana.
To streamline activities, the government, made a policy decision in 1989 to regularise the activities of artisanal and small-scale mining, to create employment to curb rural-urban labour drift, absorb some of the excess labour to be retrenched because of the Structural Adjustment Programme, SAP, monitor and supervise the activities of small-scale miners by ensuring acceptable mining practices with minimum damage to the environment.
The plan is also to reduce the incidence of smuggling and stem the tide of the encroachment of small-scale miners on large scale mining concessions.
The sector is now key to the country’s economy and is estimated to provide jobs to over one million people directly and over four million people indirectly, brings in over two-billion-dollars a year in forex earnings, supplies raw gold to the jewelry industry downstream through value addition.
The sector has also paid over ¢200 million in withholding Tax since its introduction in May 2020.
The recent destruction of water bodies and the environment by illegal miners is of major concern to all as there is a thin line between regulated ASM and illegal operators. Professor Richard Kwesi Amankwah is the Vice-Chancellor of UMaT.
The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, Mr. Godwin Amah called for the adoption of a more sustainable approach in dealing with galamsey.
For his part, the Western Regional Minister, Mr. Kwabene Okyere Darko-Mensah said though government recognizes ASM, it will not allow those operating illegally to have a field day. It has therefore stepped up efforts to stop all illegal activities that are destroying the country’s water bodies.