Chairman of the vetting committee of the inter-ministerial committee on illegal mining has admitted that some illegal mining still took place despite the ban by government.
According to Professor Richard Amankwaah, the mining ban achieved 75% compliance from the miners.
“More than 75% compliance was achieved. To say we achieved 100% will not be a human institution. Some amount of small-scale mining was still going on in areas where it is difficult to ensure compliance. Only last week, some 15 Chinese miners were arrested still doing small-scale mining,” he told Francis Abban on the Morning Starr Friday.
The admission comes as government readies to announce a new policy framework on mining after a close to a 2-year ban on small-scale mining.
The announcement comes twenty-one (21) months after a ban was imposed on illegal, irresponsible as well as small-scale mining activities in the country.
While some have speculated a lifting of the ban, government has been quick to correct that what will be announced is a new policy framework within which the over 3,000 newly trained former galamsey operators, as well as thousands more who are interested in mining, can operate legally.
Addressing the Sunday bi-weekly Press briefings in Takoradi, the Minister for Information Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said the announcement will outline the following;
– How validated and legal responsible miners can mine after the 15th of December
– Processes towards dredging and land reclamation in affected areas
– Institutional reforms within the mining regulatory agencies
– Legal reforms in the mining sector
– Efforts to avert a resurgence of illegal and irresponsible mining
“It is our expectation that stakeholders and the general public will continue to cooperate with authorities even as this new phase is rolled out,” he said.
The ban was imposed in March 2017 when it was observed that small-scale mining was being used as a cover for irresponsible mining as well as even illegal mining in many parts of the country. The practice fast led to a degradation of the environment affecting severely rivers and forest reserves. In some cases, it even led to a contamination of agricultural products as a result of the absorption of dangerous chemicals used.