The government will on Friday 14 December 2018, announce a new policy framework for regularizing and reforming mining activities in Ghana.
The announcement comes twenty-one (21) months after a ban was imposed on illegal, irresponsible as well as small-scale mining activities in the country.
While some have speculated a lifting of the ban, the government has been quick to correct that what will be announced is a new policy framework within which the over 3,000 newly trained former galamsey operators, as well as thousands more who are interested in mining, can operate legally.
Addressing the Sunday bi-weekly Press briefings in Takoradi, the Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the announcement will outline the following;
– How validated and legal responsible miners can mine after the 15th of December
– Processes towards dredging and land reclamation in affected areas
– Institutional reforms within the mining regulatory agencies
– Legal reforms in the mining sector
– Efforts to avert a resurgence of illegal and irresponsible mining
“It is our expectation that stakeholders and the general public will continue to cooperate with authorities even as this new phase is rolled out,” he said.
The ban was imposed in March 2017 when it was observed that small-scale mining was being used as a cover for irresponsible mining as well as even illegal mining in many parts of the country. The practice fast led to a degradation of the environment affecting severely rivers and forest reserves. In some cases, it even led to a contamination of agricultural products as a result of the absorption of dangerous chemicals used.
Upon the institution of the ban, a security operation known as Operation Vanguard was launched to enforce the ban. The operation comprising military and policemen and officers has largely been successful in containing the situation. Several recalcitrant operators were also arrested and their equipment seized.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee against Illegal Mining was established to supervise ban and the transition to the new legal and well-regulated mining regime.
Mr. Kojo Oppong Nkrumah revealed that the committee has completed its work and received cabinet approval to roll out the new framework.
He added that the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Small Scale Mining will give an update on the work done so far at the ongoing National Policy Summit in the Western Region and the current status ahead of the announcement on Friday.
“We encourage the media to help us amplify this presentation through your various channels,” he told reporters.