The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) has said it is optimistic the “Operation Cover 2 Acres” being undertaken by members is enough to cause government to renege on a possible extension of the six month moratorium imposed on small scale mining activities in the country.
The Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources in response to public outrage following intense media coverage of the scourge of illegal small scale mining activities in the country imposed a 6 months freeze on small scale mining activities in the country to streamline the sector.
Apart from the pollution of water bodies in the country, dormant mining pits also posed a threat to residents in the mining communities.
Assistant Secretary of the Association Mike Gizo told XYZ News’ Joe Bright Nyarko that though government is to blame for most of the pits scattered across the country, the Association had charged members operating close to some of these pits to cover them as a sign of commitment to efforts at sanitizing the industry.
He recalled in 2014, government after arresting and seizing the equipment of some illegal miners failed to commit them to correct the dangers mining pits left uncovered at the various mining areas posed to residents in those catchment areas.
This Mr Gizo said was a concern to the genuine small scale miners and that the Association was in the coming days going back to the mining sites with earth-moving equipment, not to mine, but to cover up the uncovered pits left behind on the various mining concessions.
The small scale miners by their calculation hopes the moratorium should be ended by the end of September but warns government that an extension would further prolong the drought on their finances. The Association also hopes by now Ghanaians should be able to decipher small scale mining from illegal mining popularly termed “galamsey”
Mr Gizo indicated that government was not being fair to them in the first place and thus cannot extend the moratorium without giving small scale miners an alternative source livelihood.
By Joe Bright Nyarko