Community mining schemes to create 220,000 jobs

BY: Ama Amankwah Baafi

A total of 100 community mining schemes (CMS) expected to create 220, 000 jobs are to be rolled out nationwide next year.

The schemes will have, among others, functioning offices, proper database of miners, mining environmental officers on site, changing rooms for miners and sick bays.

According to the Minister of Finance, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, the CMSs forms the main fulcrum around which the government seeks to organise responsible, viable and sustainable community mining.

“So far, five community mining schemes with 20 concessions have been launched in Mbaampehia in the Ahanta West Municipality, Kwabre in the Jomoro Municipality, Adukrom in the Ahafo Ano South-East District, Jacobu in the Amansie Central District, and Akyim Abaam in the Kwaebibrim District.”

“These five schemes have the capacity to employ about 26,300 people in direct and indirect employment. A total of 18 schemes with 100 concessions will be launched by the end of 2021,” he said when he presented the 2022 Budget Statement and Economic Policy to Parliament.

Alternative employment and livelihood  

The government through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources (MLNR) during the 2021 mid-year budget review, revealed plans to provide alternative employment and livelihood for miners who were displaced as a result of the ongoing efforts to sanitise the mining industry of any illegal activities.

Consequently, the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) which is anchored on six main interventions was developed and launched by the President.

The interventions include the National Land Reclamation and Re-afforestation, Agriculture and Agro-processing, Apprenticeship and Skills Training and Entrepreneurship.

The rest are Responsible, Viable and Sustainable Community Mining, Mine Support Services and Community Enhancement Projects.

Effects of illegal mining

Illegal mining (galamsey) has caused grave destruction of the country’s natural environment and continues to pose a threat to the survival of the citizenry and remains a national security issue.

Decades of weak regulatory regimes and enforcement have allowed inappropriate mining activities to dominate the small-scale mining (SSM) sub-sector.

President Nana Akufo Addo took a bold decision which led to the suspension of small-scale mining (SSM) operations and the establishment of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM).

The IMCIM took several actions to stamp out illegal mining and sanitise the SSM sub-sector through strengthening the regulatory framework and enhancing the capacity of implementing agencies to discharge their mandate effectively.

Consequently, a national and regional dialogue on SSM was organised which led to the Operation Halt II programme to crack down on illegal mining.

Preliminary data gathered by the Minerals Commission indicate that Operation Halt II made some positive impact on the forest reserves and the river bodies.

However, the operation affected the livelihoods of a little over 1,000,000 people in mining communities across five regions of Ghana – Ashanti, Central, Eastern, Western and Western North Regions.

Land reclamation

The National Land Reclamation and Re-afforestation component of the programme will lead to the reclamation and re-afforestation of 1,000 hectares of degraded lands in the five regions covered by the project. This is expected to create additional 100,000 jobs for the youth.