A former Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Inusah Fuseini, has attributed some of the struggles with illegal mining to tedious bureaucracy and the cost of formalisation.
Speaking on The Big Issue, Mr. Fuseini said these factors sometimes serve as a disincentive for persons considering legal avenues for small scale mining.
He noted that persons go to borrow money to engage in mining endeavours and the democracy sometimes proves costly.
“He goes to apply and it takes him two years to get the license. Even before he goes to dig the ground, he’s already very indebted to the lender so there is pressure, a push for him to engage in illegal activity.”
The former minister thus stressed that “we must reduce the time it takes to give a license.”
He recalled that when he became a minister under the Mahama administration, the first thing he did was “sign all applications for small scale miners.”
“When you waste time, cost builds up and even those who are licensed are pushed to go and do illegal mining.”
Mr. Fuseini was commenting on the government’s fight against illegal mining and the just-ended National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining were stakeholders charged the government to take steps to strictly apply the country’s mining laws.
A communiqué issued at the end of the event highlighted key agreements and concessions made by the about 14 stakeholders, including former ministers of Lands and Natural Resources, members of the Council of State, members of the National House of Chiefs, Heads of security agencies, actors in the mining industry and members of the Small-Scale Miners Association.
The stakeholders agreed that the government must work to apply the sanctions and penalties imposed by Mining Act 995 to anyone who breaks the mining law and that this must be done without fear or favour.