A two-day National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining in Ghana has begun.
President Nana Akufo-Addo opened the Dialogue in the national capital, Accra on Wednesday, April 14, 2021.
The dialogue is being held at the Accra International Conference Centre. The dialogue will end on Thursday, 15th April, 2021.
The dialogue, among other things, seeks to solicit views, proposals and suggestions from diverse stakeholders in the Small Scale Mining Industry, to develop appropriate public interventions for the sector.
The over-reaching goal of the dialogue on the Small Scale Mining, is to improve the regulation, management and governance of the Mining sector.
Mr Akufo-Addo had in his state of the Nation address this year called for an open and non-partisan approach in tackling the issue. The artisanal small scale mining contribute to about a third of total gold produce in Ghana.
The sector also provides jobs and create opportunities to support livelihoods.
In his address at the dialogue, Mr Akufo-Addo called on participants to discuss issues relating to illegal small-scale mining dispassionately, devoid of partisan politics, narrow and parochial interests.
According to him, it would require stakeholders in the small-scale mining industry, to engage in honest and candid conversations to stem the tide of the galamsey menace.
He stated that although mining creates jobs and improved livelihoods, but should not be done at the expense of damaging the environment.
“Ghana is not only made up of the people, but the soil,water bodies, valleys,mountains, forests, plants and animal life, without them, we will not survive, and requires our collective determination to protect them,” the President stated.
He explained that Ghana is endowed with numerous natural resources and should explore innovative ways to exploit them, without hurting the environment.
Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, in his welcome address at the opening session of the dialogue, said in compliance with the President’s instructions, the Ministry “made it a point to make this conference a non-partisan one, and to make it as broad-based as possible, and national in character. I am happy to report that officials of both the present and past government are scheduled to chair important panel discussions.”
“This gathering is truly a national consultative dialogue, and will last for two (2) days that is, today, Wednesday, 14th April, and tomorrow, Thursday, 15th April. We hope to replicate this consultation in all the mining regions and districts across the country,” he said.
“The holding of this consultation, Mr. President, is critical because the small-scale mining industry contributes over a third of Ghana’s Gold output. The industry plays a significant role in the local economies of many parts of our country. Since 2017, a bold attempt was made to sanitize this industry. Considerable successes were achieved in this effort, including the training of miners, reviewing, amending and enacting laws to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework of the industry. Community Mining was introduced, and we are perfecting it steadily. But government recognizes the complexity of this industry.”
“We recognize that there are lessons to be learnt, and there is still a lot more work to be done. That is why this national consultative dialogue must be undertaken on the basis of honesty, candour, and with an attitude of constructiveness. We believe and hope that, out of the deliberations of this forum, a consensual road map can be fashioned, which should enjoy broad-based national support.
“The good people of Ghana expect this forum to provide answers to many lingering questions. For instance;
i. How do we effectively regulate this industry?
ii. What reforms are required?
iii. How do we mobilize finances for the ac players in the industry and what role should the banks play?
iiii. How do we generate community support, including the support of our chiefs?
v. How do we deal with the financiers of illegal small-scale miners, who put young men into mining pits, whilst they receive the proceeds of such dangerous and criminal enterprises in the comfort of their homes and hotels? And in many cases, such persons never visit a mining site in their lifetime.
vi. How do we deal with the illegal involvement of foreign nationals in the small-scale mining industry?
vii. How do we fashion out alternative livelihoods for those who will inevitably fall out of the cracks?
viii. What can we learn from international best standards?
ix. What kind of enforcement regime is required which bites and does so without fear or favour?
x. How do we name, shame and punish politicians, chiefs, religious leaders, the elite, and people with money and influence who are promoters of criminal cartels in this industry?
xi. Should we, like other African Countries, introduce medium scale mining in the structure of our mining industry? and
xii. If so should foreign nationals participate in medium scale mining?”
He said there was the need to find correct solutions and answers to these numerous questions.
“Having found these answers, the resolve of the President of the day or his sector Minister to implement these solutions and recommendations, will not be enough. We will require a holistic, honest, national effort, anchored on integrity of action. We will require a candid, collaborative and collective action. We will require candour, which eschew double talk.”
“We have carefully and deliberately assembled the best resources and expertise in the mining industry of our country. After every presentation, the plenary would have the opportunity to deliberate on the content of the presentation. It will be as interactive as possible, so that, we get the best out of this exercise.”
“The report which will come out of this, hopefully, will pass the usual scrutiny and rigour of the Akufo-Addo Cabinet.”
The dialogue has brought together the leadership of the two major political parties namely the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC), as well as other minority political parties to discuss issues pertaining to the illegal small-scale mining sector.
For instance, the Former Ministers for Lands and Natural Resources under NDC administration Hon. Alhaji Collins Dauda, NDC MP for Asutifi South and Hon. Inusah Fuseini were in attendance.
Hon Fuseini chaired one of the plenary discussions and made meaningful suggestions towards ending the galamsey menace.
According to him, illegal mining posed health challenges to host communities and should be tackled head-on.
There was also a delegation from Parliament, comprising the leadership of both the Majority and Minority Caucuses with Hon. Abdul Rashid Pelpuo, MP for Wa Central and Ranking Member on Lands and Forestry Select Committee of Parliament as well as Hon. John Jinapor, MP for Yapei- Kusawgu and Ranking Member on Mines and Energy Select Committee of Parliament .
The Dialogue is under the theme, “Sustainable Small-Scale Mining for National Development”.
The objectives of the Consultative Dialogue is to ensure a broad-based consensus and a workable blueprint to promote sustainable mining practices and stem the tide of illegal small-scale mining in the country.
The participants are therefore expected to engage in honest conversation, devoid of partisan politics, narrow and parochial interests.
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