The University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in collaboration with the German Government, has introduced small-scale miners to a new gold extraction method called 'Shaking Table'. The new procedure does not entail the use of poisonous substances.
The training programme, which was free of charge and covered a period of two weeks, took place at and was attended by 60 small-scale miners.
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Religious Affairs, Mr Samuel Kofi Ahiave Dzamesi, made this known when he met with chiefs and elders of Sefwi-Wiawso and Wassa-Akropong at separate ceremonies during his recent four-day tour of the Western Region.
Mr Dzamesi said the training programme formed part of efforts the government was undertaking to ensure that small-scale miners were provided with alternative ways of mining that did not cause destruction to the country's water bodies, forests and health of the people.
Register to train
He urged small-scale miners desirous of undertaking the training to register with their various district assemblies as the training programme would be organised in the mining communities. He said at the end of the training programme, participants would be awarded certificates in recognition of their study.
The minister urged the chiefs to make sure they protected their lands from being destroyed, because as custodians of the land they had the power to secure the lives of future generations.
He said in a situation where they found it difficult to protect their lands, they were to inform the nine-member Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal small-scale mining or the appropriate ministry with the powers “ to deal with matters regarding small-scale mining in the country.
He stressed that the government was concerned about the rate at which the country's water bodies were being polluted and forests being indiscriminately destroyed and urged all and sundry to play their parts in ensuring that the country’s natural resources were safeguarded.
Use of children wrong
The President of the Western Regional Queenmothers Association, Awulae Nda-Bosoma, expressed her worry over the use of young children between the ages of 10 and 13 in small-scale mining activities. She said parents had to become more responsible and stop their children from working at mine sites.
“The children found in the illegal small-scale mine sites are school-age children who ought to be in school and if we let them go astray, then the future of the country will look bleak," she said.
The Paramount Chiefs of Sefwi-Wiawso and Wassa-Amenfi traditional areas, Katakyie Kwasi Bumagama II and Tetrete Okuamoa Sakyim II respectively, lent their support to efforts the government was making to stop illegal small-scale mining in the country.
They gave an assurance to work to help the government achieve its goal of moving the country’s development forward.