This is because, the country had been too flexible with its mining regulatory laws governing mining activities which has paved way for many investors into the country and thus, we are faced with these irresponsible mining canker that has become a hard Knut to crack.
Irresponsible mining activities has resulted in the loss of livelihood, displacement of about 100,000 landlords, pollution of many rivers, the exacerbation of poverty in mining communities, destruction of forest reserves, destruction of many ancestral heritage and to name a few.
In fact, all irresponsible mining activities must be regarded as “Galamsey”, be it large or small scale mining. The country is faced with a lot of challenges like pollution of water bodies, destruction of livelihoods, land degradation and creating serious social and environmental problems, thanks to irresponsible mining activities.
The way and manner in which most of the gold is currently mined and processed in the country, has negative consequences for both the people and the environment in and around mining communities. This is compounded by the fact that mining is the third largest global industry, just behind agriculture, and takes place in 80 countries.
Solidaridad is an International Civil Society Network Foundation founded in 1969 by Nico Roozen. It envisions a world where the people who produce the resources on which we all depend on can contribute to change that matters, change that leads to prosperity for all, without harming each other or the environment. This therefore helps to ensure that resources will continue to sustain us for generations to come.
On July 4th, 2018, Solidaridad in partnership with EPA, Minerals Commission and the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) organized a training workshop on Responsible Practices in the Small Scale Mining Sector for Media Personnel in Accra, to collectively think through what should be done to the discourse, in order to guide, support and shaping government’s agenda around SSM.
Suzan Hermina-Yemidi, the country representative of Solidaridad, at the event said, “The change we seek is a market process driven by the private sector. However, civil society organizations and governments play an essential role in enabling and encouraging change. In this process, Solidaridad is a transition manager. We back farmers who are economically poor but have rich potential, entrepreneurial men and women, and workers who want to build their livelihoods on a fair income. Solidaridad partners with all parties in the supply chain, so that everyone can be involved in creating change that matters.”
“Our aim is to make an impact by being the best in building partnerships, in piloting and scaling up programmes, in learning and innovation.” Mining and industry, She said needed to switch to a responsible means of production, whereas Workers’ rights are respected and the environment is preserved for future generations, keeping its potentials intact.
Suzan indicated that, Solidaridad’s organizational structure has been designed to maximize international development cooperation, capacity, transparency, accountability, performance and impact.
She noted, “This allows us to develop and implement international and regional policy and programmes in the most effective way possible. We operate under a common vision and mission, and are fully aligned around consistent and comprehensive international commodity strategies.”
Mr. Nelson Ahedor, from the Minerals Commission, indicated that SSM activities have increased productivity and earnings of most Ghanaian SSM, thus making the sector a more attractive business in Ghana. Noting that, ASM contributed 39% (1.6 million oz) of total gold production in 2016 and a total Diamond of (173,863 carats).
“While Ghana may have made appreciable progress in dealing with its SSM sector, a lot more remains to be done especially in the areas of illegal mining and environmental management, lack of access to finance, connivance of some Chiefs, and many more” he said.
Looking at the way forward, Mr. Ahedor recommended the encouragement of peer review among ASM operators, Active stakeholder engagement for the improvement of ASM, and an integrated approach involving all stakeholders to address the multifaceted challenge of ASM.
Justine Shirley Seyire Dzadzra, Chief Programme Officer, Mining Department at EPA, on her part said, the instituted multi-sectoral interpreted project needs to be supported, review and enforce the legal and regulatory regime.
She said, there should be reclamation of degraded lands, dredge silted estuaries and waterways and free lands for agribusiness. There should also be social interventions to facilitate sustainable livelihood creation in mining communities.
The Chief Programme Officer, again added that, there should be adaptation of technology to ensure efficient mining, processing, environmental and monitoring activities, and as well as capacity building for ASMs, regulatory institutions and project management.