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NewsSmall-scale miners have endured enough government mishandling of the sector - Mahama

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Small-scale miners have endured enough government mishandling of the sector – Mahama

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Former President John Dramani Mahama has launched a scathing critique against the Akufo-Addo administration, accusing them of mishandling Ghana’s mining sector.

Speaking at the ‘3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale Mining,’ Mahama highlighted the plight of small-scale miners, citing equipment confiscations and tragic loss of lives.

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Mahama unveiled a detailed plan to rejuvenate the sector, starting with the establishment of district mining offices in key mining areas. These offices, staffed with personnel from various agencies, aim to streamline licensing procedures and enhance transparency.

Additionally, Mahama proposed amendments to the Minerals and Mining Act, granting these offices the authority to issue licenses, thereby decentralizing the system and fostering job creation.

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“To support these efforts, we plan to amend the Minerals and Mining Act to grant district mining offices a legal mandate to issue mining licenses. This would decentralize the licensing regime and increase the number of regulated small-scale mining companies and youth employment, particularly under the 24-hour economy policy,” he said.

“As part of our broader economic transformation model and a burning commitment to creating more sustainable and decent jobs for the Ghanaian youth, my administration intends to ensure the active involvement of mining engineers and graduates from the University of Mines and Technology and the University of Energy and Natural Resources, Sunyani, in the small-scale mining sector, creating opportunities for them. These professionals will be attached to the newly created district mining offices and small-scale operators to provide guidance and support.”

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To harness expertise and promote sustainable practices, Mahama pledged to involve mining professionals from universities in sector operations. This initiative aligns with his vision of generating more opportunities for Ghanaian youth while advocating for responsible mining techniques.

Addressing environmental concerns, Mahama pledged to safeguard cocoa farms and forests from mining activities, with strict bans on mining in water bodies. He also stressed the inclusion of traditional leaders in the licensing process, emphasizing collaboration among stakeholders.

“One of the impacts of illegal mining, including galamsey, has been the destruction of forests and cocoa farms. We will protect the destruction of cocoa farms for mining and effectively ban the issuance of entry permits into forests. Mining in water bodies will be outrightly prohibited. Recognising the invaluable role of traditional leaders in our society and as a testament to our commitment to inclusivity and respect for all stakeholders, I intend to have traditional leaders included in the crucial process of granting mining licenses in their communities.

“Therefore, we must strengthen regulatory institutions such as the Minerals Commission, the EPA, the Geological Survey Authority, and the Natural Resources Universities to further this.

“This will involve laws, policies, regulatory enforcement, and education. Miners must be aware of the regulations and their reasons. They must be partners in this transforma>on and not adversaries.

“It is also my vision to reform the mining sector structurally. Ghana’s small-scale mining sector is perhaps the only economic sector with only two categories—small and large. Some mines within the small-scale category have grown beyond ‘small’ but are not large enough to qualify as large-scale. My government will structurally reform the entire mining sector through a comprehensive re-categorisation into Small-scale (SSM), Medium-scale (MSM), and Large-scale (LSM), each with specifically tailored operational, environmental, and safety requirements,” he said.

Mahama criticized the current aggressive anti-illegal mining tactics as unsustainable and potentially exploitative by certain political entities. He proposed a structural overhaul of the mining sector, advocating for categorization into Small-scale, Medium-scale, and Large-scale operations, each with customized regulations for operational, environmental, and safety standards.

Mahama’s proposals signal a comprehensive strategy aimed at addressing longstanding challenges within Ghana’s mining sector, with a focus on sustainability, inclusivity, and responsible governance.

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