Thursday, August 20, 2009

Let's promote small and artisanal mining, says Miss Aryee

Miss Joyce Aryee, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has said artisanal and small scale mining must be properly promoted to enable the sector to contribute to national development.She said this could reduce unemployment, promote safe practices, reclaim mined out areas and reduce the miners' use of mercury and other dangerous chemicals in their operations. Miss Aryee said this at a day's workshop on the theme "Mainstreaming artisanal and small scale mining" at Tarkwa on Tuesday. It was organised by the Ghana Chamber of Mines and the BUSAC Fund for chiefs, opinion leaders and artisanal and small scale miners in the Western Region.She said a conscious effort must be made by all stakeholders especially the government to seriously promote small scale mining to enable the sector to develop adequately. Miss Aryee said this could be done if the cumbersome licensing procedures were simplified and modified while at the same time making available to the miners information on concessions that has enough minerals to meet their needs.She said presently it was too expensive for a small scale miner to undertake exploration and therefore called for a thorough study to identify and build a comprehensive database on small scale mining. Miss Aryee said the present situation where several illegal miners operated in tailings dam of large scale mining companies, illegally capturing and occupying concessions of mining companies, theft of mine property and the increasing environmental pollution should cease. She said there was the need for large scale mining companies to assist artisanal and small scale miners by engaging in exploration activities for small scale miners.Additionally, mining companies should share geological information with the government which would in turn assist small scale miners. Dr. Aryee suggested that successful small scale and artisanal mining groups should be show-cased and used as models for other emerging groups.Prof Daniel Mireku-Gyimah, Vice Chancellor of the University of Mines and Technology who chaired the function, commended the Ghana Chamber of Mines for spearheading the campaign for small scale miners. He said their efforts could be rewarded if they were assisted to regularise their operations, operate within the acceptable laws and practices and some credit facilities made available to them to buy tools and protective clothing.

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