Samuel Abu Jinapor, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources has stated that small-scale mining has been contributing tremendously to the nation’s gold output as the sector produced a total of 712,405 ounces of gold last year.
This he said brought the nation almost US$1,200,000,000 in export receipts, adding that all diamonds produced in the country in 2022, which amounted to 82,251.99 carats and generated US$3,900,000 in revenue were from small-scale mining.
Mr Jinapor made the statement when he was speaking at the opening of a two-day transformational dialogue on artisanal and small-scale mining under the theme, “Sustaining Environmental Security and Human Rights in Small Scale Mining Operations in Ghana” at Fiapre in the Sunyani West Municipality.
The programme, initiated by the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) aimed at bringing together various stakeholders to deliberate on the issue and jointly make efforts towards a common direction.
It was attended by politicians, traditional leaders, students, members, and staff of the UENR, artisans and small-scale miners, civil society actors, representatives of large-scale mining companies and the media.
Mr Jinapor said the small-scale mining sector had been the source of employment for thousands of people and supported the lives and livelihoods of millions of citizens.
He added that the increasing illegalities associated with the sector which result in the destruction of the environment remained a national challenge that required collaborative effort to end the menace.
Mr Jinapor said the government’s effort to clamp down on galamsey had been met with resistance due to activities of greedy and unscrupulous nation-wreckers who have been destroying the environment for their personal interests.
He said the government in addressing the threat of illegal mining had introduced policies and measures under the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) to provide alternative sources of income and livelihood to persons engaged in the menace.
In that regard several young men and women had been employed in the production of seedlings and reclamation of degraded mined lands in the Ashanti, Eastern and Western North Regions, the Minister added.
He said the Apprenticeship, Skills Training and Entrepreneurship module of the Programme was expected to be rolled out later this year to provide training for 5,000 youth in agriculture, technical, vocational, industrial, and mining skills.
Mr Jinapor, therefore, commended the UENR for introducing several novel programmes, including bachelor and graduate programmes in Sustainable Mining, Land Degradation Neutrality and Sustainable Land Management aimed at promoting sustainable mining and environmental protection.
The effort needed a hands-on-deck approach to promoting sustainable resources extraction practices and transforming mined lands into viable lands for agricultural purposes, he said and called for intensification of education on responsible and sustainable mining practices.