Plan to lift ban on small scale mining out Thursday

BY: Isaac Yeboah

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining will on Thursday announce a roadmap towards the lifting of the ban on small scale mining. 

A statement issued by Deputy Minister for Information and MP for Akuapem North, Nana Dokua Asiamah-Adjei says the committee led by Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations Minister Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, “after a year of comprehensive of work”, has completed its assignment.

According to the deputy minister, the announcement on Thursday, August 16, 2018 will outdoor the Road Map to regulate the activities of Small Scale Miners and guide their operations in the country.

The ban on small scale mining which has been in force since January 2017, was occasioned by years of extensive devastation of forests, farmlands and river bodies by mining activities, particularly galamsey operations.

It was initially for six months, but has since seen a number of extensions while government says it is seeking appropriate strategies to regulate the sector and refine operations.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining was constituted in March 2017, 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.

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A joint security taskforce (Operation Vanguard) that has been monitoring and enforcing the ban has made and continues to make several arrests in spite of the ban. The taskforce has prosecuted many of the offenders, confiscated vehicles and several assorted equipment adapted for mining, while in some cases destroyed the equipment and earth moving machines outright, in instances where evacuating such equipment is readily impossible.

In the meantime, there have been calls from all around the country, particularly by the affected miners, for the ban to be lifted, while several voices, including environmentalists and the Media Coalition against Illegal Mining, have praised the government for maintaining the ban while taking steps to ensure the proper things are done.