Small-scale miners returning to site
The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSAM) have served notice that members with valid licences will return to their mining sites despite government’s six-month ban on all forms of small-scale mining.
The association has accused government of suppressing legal small-scale miners from engaging in their legitimate employment as it fights illegal small scale-mining (galamsey).
According to them, all the members of the association have got the requisite mining licence as prescribed by law to legally mine but government has not made lumped them together with illegal miners.
The group at a press conference said: “It is worrying that the government, while trying to fight illegal mining has in its wake banned all legal mining.”
“We, therefore, wish to bring to the attention of the general public that the members of the association who have valid licences for this year would go back to their mining sites to carry out their rightful legal employment. We also want to draw the attention of the security agencies that while we believe that they have the right to carry out their constitutionally mandated jobs, they must act at times in a fair and just manner,” the group’s leaders said.
According to the association, members would deposit copies of their licences to various security posts closest to the mining sites before they embark on their activities.
The association believes that by depositing copies of the mining licences with the security agencies, they would have at least given the law enforcement officials the necessary notice of their activities in a mining site.
They have also promised to cooperate with the Minerals Commission as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) before resuming work. “All these measures would be put in place by the Association to guide licensed legal miners. This is not to say that members were breaking the law in times past but rather these measures have been put in place to avoid unnecessary confrontation and arrest by the security agencies,” the association noted.
Members of GNASSAM have also recommended that government create a website to publish the names of all legally licensed individuals on various platforms.
The association also called on government to allow their members to cover pits on their sites.
These pits which have been left uncovered, according to them, pose death threats to people in the mining areas. “It is the responsibility of any miner to cover any pit dug while mining. This means that if any person falls in any pit dug by a miner, the said miner could be charged with manslaughter. It is, however, very strange that while the security agencies and government officials seek to prevent licensed miners to work, they also do not allow them to cover their pits,” the miners bemoaned.
The association said on 13 July, 2017, they wrote to the District Chief Executive and copied the various security agencies to allow individual miners to cover these pits but their request simply fell on deaf ears, adding that individual members of the association fear they may face serious charges if any accidents happened in those pits.