As the country pushes for the formalisation of the small-scale mining sector as the solution to the environmentally destructive illegal mining, industry players have been urged to embrace the use of the right mining technology to maximize their work without polluting the environment.
Speaking to Citi News at the National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining, the Chief Executive of Commodity Monitor, Stephen Yeboah, who is championing the use of green mining technology, said the failure to get artisanal small-scale miners to use the right technology will not yield the expected results even after formalisation.
“The current inefficient practice is destroying our environment and polluting the resources that we have. We think our technology offers an important vehicle to the formalization of the sector and the three goals that we want to achieve,” he said.
Emphasizing the availability of appropriate mining technology for small-scale miners, Stephen Yeboah, whose new gold processing equipment for small-scale miners, the GoldKacha and the RG30 Scrubber, were exhibited and inspected by the President at the Dialogue, said there are several options of processing technologies that small-scale miners can try to improve their gold extraction without endangering the environment.
“So we are talking about technology where miners are able to process their ore without any chemicals, and we are looking at rock mining equipment and the alluvial mining equipment. We are partnering with our partners based in Germany and South Africa to bring this technology into the country.”
“In the long term or even the medium term, we are making sure that the production takes place in Ghana to bring in the knowledge required for people to process and produce the right equipment needed to scale up the small-scale mining sector,“ he said.
The Vice-Chancellor of the University of Mines, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah, who earlier espoused the importance of formalisation at the consultative dialogue also agreed with the need for formalisation to move with technology.
“We all agree that small scale mining has moved from the rudimentary level and it is at a higher level of mechanization. So higher technology in prospecting, in mining and in processing happens to be very necessary and also in tailing disposal.”
On his part, the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners, Godwin Armarh, said technology has the potential to increase ASM’s productivity but high costs are the concern.
“How much is the technology going to cost so that, at the end of the day, the small-scale miner will be able to buy and apply that technology to optimize his operations and also make sure that the environment is also intact?” he asked.
The National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining was organized by the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources to discuss the way forward for Ghana’s environmentally destructive artisanal small scale gold mining sector.
It was on the theme: Sustainable Small Scale Mining for National Development.
The Dialogue emphatically charged “government to take steps to put in place systems that would rigidly apply the law, noting particularly the sanctions/penalties imposed by Act 995, to all those who infringe the law, irrespective of political colour or socio-economic status or class; indeed, the better placed in society and who ought to know better should have the most punitive of the penalties applied to them”.