The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASS) has prompted the government to lift the six-month ban it had imposed on small-scale mining.
The ban, which was placed earlier last year which, was later extended by three months and was expected to end last month.
However, the government is still holding on to its first decision, arguing that, they are yet to fully eradicate illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, from the country.Mr Godwin Armah, General Secretary, GNASSM said that “the ban has affected and shaken the socio-economic foundation of Ghana contributing massively to the rise of unemployment.”
According to Mr Armah, “the sales and revenue in forex from January to October 2016 in the small-scale sector alone made some US$ 1.5 million and when we were in operation, every week we brought some US$ 40 million. This stabilized the cedi on the currency market because of demand and supply.”
Reports show that the industry has lost about US$551 million after the ban on the small-scale miners, and has deepened the unemployment level of the country.It is quite surprising to know that small-scale miners operating legally face the challenge of unemployment that often causes many to go into ‘galamsey’ operations.It is believed that about one million youth have directly been affected by the ban while some three million are indirectly suffering from it as well.
The GNASSM stated that the ban has affected those within the supply chain of mining making them lose their businesses and investments which is eventually decreasing the revenue of the country and not encouraging investors.
Some have however argued that the modus operandi adopted by the government is doing more harm than good because it has drastically affected the small-scale miners whose work promotes the development of the country and retarding the growth of the country.
This, they insisted, has practically made the small-scale miners no different from the ‘galamsey’ as a result some unemployed small-scale miners may be forced into practising ‘galamsey’.
It is therefore proper for the government to differentiate ‘galamsey’ operators from small-scale mining by lifting the ban; since the small-scale miners work within the confines of the law.
As to whether the plights of these small-scale miners will be considered is still a question yet to be answered.
Source: Hannah Bonful / Business.com.gh