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The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) has stated that the current fight against illegal mining can effectively be won if government and policy makers partner the association.
According to the association, the problems in the industry cannot be solved, and the fight against illegal mining cannot be won without the active and frontline involvement of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM).
Speaking with The New Independent, Mr. Godwin Nickleson Amah, the association’s General Secretary said regulation is always easily done with a formalized front, than the vice-versa. According to the association, the industry, spearheaded by the association can regulate itself with the needed support from government through legislations and policy interventions aimed at empowering the association and giving it teeth to bite.
He said the association has its own checks and balances, so legislative interventions devoid of political influences aimed at empowering the association is the only panacea to the current hydra-headed mining problems.
He further stated that majority of the problems in the industry is as a result of the under-resourcefulness of the regulatory bodies such as the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
He decried how projects like the tracking system and other intervention did not record the expected result as intended. He said the current MMIP project initiated by the government is almost a combination of the previous interventions.
As a result, he expressed concern about the sustainability of the current mining initiatives by the government.
He further stated that, the association supports every government policy aimed at sanitizing the industry, but are concerned about the fact that if care is not taken, there could be duplication of duties and functions between the Minerals Commission and government separate mining policy interventions, which are likely to be run parallel to the main functions of the Minerals Commission.
He again indicated that, performance feedback from previous interventions have not been forthwith. He wondered why earlier projects failed, and no feedback assessment was done to find out why they failed, and what needed to have been done in order to serve as a guide to future policy interventions. Feedback on the performance of projects like the Mercury Abetment reduction programs, Retort, the Direct Smelting, etc were not forthwith, according to him, which the association sees as worrisome
Speaking further, he indicated that stakeholder involvement has been very unimpressive, as it is very difficult to get policy makers to confer with, a case which is very important in the fight against illegal mining.
He said increasing the number of monitors, resourcing the regulatory agencies and government’s partnership with the association is the only way forward.
Complaining about how the media has so far treated them, he said the media reported on issues they had little knowledge and insight of, and failed to listen to the reality from the industry players and major stakeholders.
He appealed to all stakeholders to be fair to the industry and its major stakeholders especially in the training program intended to empower the knowledge base of miners, since the industry contributes by far more than twenty six million dollars ($26m) weekly to the Ghanaian economy.
The New Independent Newspaper brings to readers more episodes of the stand of the association and industry players subsequently.
Source: Frederick E. Aggrey || The New Independent