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A roadmap for the government to lift the ban on small-scale mining was rolled out in Accra on Thursday.
Although the roadmap does not state the specific time the ban will be lifted, there are indications that it may happen before Christmas this year, depending on how the implementation of the roadmap is done.
At a forum on the roadmap in Accra, the Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, who presented the roadmap, said the checklist to guide the decision by the government to lift the ban would include the removal of all earth-moving mining equipment within districts to designated areas to be announced next week.
“I cannot say exactly when the ban will be lifted, but I know that the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, wants small-scale miners to celebrate their Christmas, well but that will depend on how the implementation of the roadmap goes,” he said.
Meanwhile, some stakeholders in the industry who were at the forum sounded disappointed, saying they had come with high hopes that the ban would be lifted Thursday or a definite timeline would be given for the lifting.
A six-month moratorium was imposed on small-scale mining on April 1, 2017, to curb illegal mining and its negative impact on biodiversity and health.
However, the ban has been extended
An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM), headed by Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, was constituted, with the mandate to enforce the ban and develop a comprehensive roadmap to guide the activities of small-scale miners to ensure sustainable mining and protect the environment.
Highlights of roadmap
The highlights of the roadmap, which was developed by the
Others are establishing the quality of water bodies, vetting and verifying
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the
Throwing more light on the road map, he said all earth-moving mining equipment within districts would be moved to designated areas to be fixed with tracking devices for effective monitoring.
He said the equipment and its drivers had to comply with regulations of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA).
He said the initiative, which would be jointly implemented by the Minerals Commission and the DVLA, was to ensure that such equipment was used appropriately and in appropriate locations.
Vetting and verification
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said as part of the road map, from September 2018, all the 1,350 legally registered artisanal and small-scale mining companies would be vetted again and verified.
“The exercise will be led by the IMCIM, supported by traditional leaders, stakeholder agencies
The documents of artisanal and small-scale mining companies to be vetted would include mining
The minister indicated that the vetting schedule would be announced in the media, stating all
He said subsequently the boundaries of all artisanal and small-scale mining concessions would be technologically set out to verify their existence and accuracy to provide a further baseline for all such concessions and their locations linked to the GhanaPost Digital Addressing system for effective monitoring.
He noted that companies that would go through the process successfully would be issued with ID cards with QR codes that had all their company and operational information for easy monitoring.
Additionally, signposts with miners’ permit details would also be erected and
All successful companies would subsequently have their names published in the media, he added.
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the IMCIM had facilitated the development of a software application that would be used for the strict monitoring of illegal mining activities henceforth.
Known as the GalamSTOP, it is an electronic reporting software which will integrate data from stakeholder regulatory agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Mineral’s Commission, the Water Resources Commission and the metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs).
The software will be used to monitor the life cycle of mining and related permits within the artisanal and small-scale mining sector, as well as
“Currently, it has been installed on 80
Ad hoc committees
He said the
So far, 60 of such DCIMs had been created and they had representatives from the Minerals Commission, the EPA, the Forestry Commission, traditional councils, MMDAs, the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), among others, he said.
“The DCIMs are expected to address artisanal and small-scale mining issues that will emerge within the MMDAs, educate and
Prof. Frimpong-Boateng said the IMCIM would occasionally dispatch teams equipped with high-technology drones that were all-weather-condition friendly to monitor mining sites and forest reserves selected randomly to pick up illegalities in the sector.
He said one of such drones had been procured for all districts and municipalities within which DCIMs had been created.
He said through the Nation Builders Corp (
Pre-ban lifting activities
The minister explained that other activities in the
There would also be an assessment of water quality, particularly in relation to turbidity and the presence of heavy metals, the withdrawal of all military and para-military personnel from mining concessions and the strengthening of the Operation Vanguard to become the only security apparatus in the fight against illegal mining to enhance operational efficiency, he said.
Work of the IMCIM so far
Throwing more light on the IMCIM, he said in line with its mandate, it had undertaken a number of activities geared towards sanitising the mining sector, including imposing the ban, public education on the negative impact of illegal mining, training of 3,000 artisanal small-scale miners (ASM) and 15 media personnel in sustainable mining and mineral processing practices at the University of Mines and Technology.
Others are the institution of Operation Vanguard to prevent further pollution of rivers and water bodies and conducting training in drone piloting and analysis, with 203 drone pilots and data analysts from Operation Vanguard, the Minerals Commission, the IMCIM and DCIMs being trained.
“The Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD) and its Department of Community Development are implementing alternative livelihood programmes in 15 selected districts in five regions adversely affected by illegal mining as well,” he added.
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