Members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) have kicked against calls for a ban on small-scale mining and warned they will resist attempts by any institution to do so.
The Association says its members are still trying to recover from the losses and hardship brought onto them following the ban on their operations in 2017.
Religious leaders and other civil society groups have recently called for an immediate ban on all small-scale mining activities to help fight against illegal mining activities effectively.
The call follows the continuous destruction of major water bodies and the environment due to the activities of illegal miners in parts of the country.
However, speaking at a news conference in Kumasi, the General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, Godwin Armah insisted members of the Association will resist attempts to ban their operations.
He said the Association has noted with great concern recent discourse in the media by Ghanaians on the pollution of rivers and water bodies and the destruction of the environment as a result of illegal mining activities in the country, and was making frantic efforts to help address the menace.
He described calls for banning small-scale mining as insensitive and a lazy man’s approach in handling the illegal mining issues.
“GNASSM believes that, the regulation of the small-scale mining sector should be a shared responsibility between the Government and the Association together with all other stakeholders and that recent calls by sections of the public for a ban on the small-scale mining sector is preposterous, insensitive and a lazy man’s approach to the issue,” he stated.
The Association called for a Community Enforcement Approach in dealing with the illegal mining issue and insisted that Illegal mining was a National Challenge, but the solution was at the local level and there was no way the menace will prevail when communities are properly organized to manage mining in their areas.
The Association also called for the formation of committees in mining communities which will consist of some traditional leaders, religious leaders, representatives from the youth and the small-scale miners to manage mining-related issues in the community, and they must work closely with the District Mining Committees.