Some stakeholders in the extractive sector have said a national day to recognize small-scale mining is needed to deepen public awareness toward achieving a sustainable mining sector, in the country.
According to the Head of the Geological Department of the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), Dr. Asante Annor, a ‘Small-scale Mining Awareness Day’ could be used to educate people on mining activities while highlighting the positive and negative sides.
This, he said, would offer the opportunity to emphasize how this mining activity could be done in the right way – using the right methods and equipment. This will also include discouraging the practice of processing minerals in water bodies, among others.
“We need to create the awareness that we have the resources, but we need to mine it sustainably, and this is by using methods that are friendly to the environment, he added.
Dr. Annor, also the Local Organising Committee Project Coordinator of DAAD Alumni, who was speaking in an interview at the backdrop of the 4th DAAD Alumni Conference in Ghana, in Tarkwa, said efforts must be made to address the hazards that are associated with the small-scale mining activities.
He was optimistic that enhancing public knowledge of the adverse effect of ‘irresponsible’ mining practices is key to achieving a sustainable mining sector.
“If we, as a country, can celebrate sustainable mining, it will create the needed awareness and also generate the needed acceptance,” he stated.
Also speaking at the opening session of the Conference, the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker, recognized the importance of the mining sector to the local economy.
Since the inception of the economic recovery programme in the 1980s, he said the mining industry has grown significantly as a key backbone of Ghana’s economy. “Between 2013 and 2020, the industry saw an average growth of 20% per annum,” he stated.
At the back of the current problems being faced with illegal mining in the country, he noted that the theme for the Conference, “Sustainable Mining, Natural Resource Awareness and Social Acceptance of Mining,” was timely.
He said it is critical to create awareness of the impact of mining, emphasizing good mining practices.
Meanwhile, he commended the German Academic Exchange Services – DAAD, for facilitating, sponsoring, and creating an enabling environment for Ghanaians and African students in pursuit of their education.
In all, some 26 Ghanaian students are said to have graduated from Technische Universitat Bergakademie Freiberg in various disciplines through the programme.
Also, 60 Ghanaian students have completed short-term non-degree programmes, with 32 students additionally enrolled.
Also, the Deputy Minister assured that the government will continue to rely on the contribution of the academia in building a sustainable industry while urging DAAD to continue to sustain the initiative.