As part of efforts aimed at creating jobs through responsible and sustainable small-scale mining, the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has established the 18th Community Mining Scheme (CSM) at Afransie in the Wassa Amenfi East Municipality of the Western Region
At the launch yesterday, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resource in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker, said the Community Mining Scheme will create sustainable and profitable jobs for the inhabitants.
He therefore charged them to be responsible in protecting the water bodies in the area.
The latest community to benefit from the environmental-friendly, modernized and mercury-free mining module is expected to create 7,000 direct jobs and 3,000 indirect job opportunities.
He re-emphasised the need to avoid the mistakes of the past, by mining in a manner that would not degrade the landscape, water bodies and the environment.
Mr Mireku Duker called for a paradigm shift towards the construction of a mining industry, particularly, in the Western Region, with strict adherence to environmental protection for the ultimate benefit of all.
He reminded the residents and workers that the Community Mining Scheme guidelines and safety measures must be strictly followed.
“I wish to urge the company to do things differently in their operations so as to bring the needed benefit to the people and residents within the operational areas of the mining company,” the Deputy Minister stressed.
The responsible mining measures, according to him, includes reclamation of lands and complete avoidance of mercury in the process of mining.
To prevent the miners from going against the rules, he presented a mercury-free machine to the operators to assist in the discovery and processing of gold.
“You must mine within the dictates of the licences issued by the Minerals Commission. It shouldn’t be the usual galamsey. Since this place is an alluvial concession, you must put in place measures for reclamation of every portion of land you’ll dig. Reclamation is a priority that must be traditionally followed.
“Government has recognized that the mercury is poisonous and harmful to the environment so we have mercury-free machines that will help you mine the gold. The mercury-free machine will help you discover 90% of gold in the ore compared to the mercury chemical that has an efficiency rate of 40%”, he indicated.
The Deputy Minister said these measures form part of government’s quest to sanitize the small-scale mining sector. He refuted reports that government is seeking to collapse the small-scale mining sector.
He reiterated that “the policies and measure are meant to increase revenue and employment in the small-scale mining sector”.
He charged all persons engaged in illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, to desist from the practice.
For his part, the Western Regional Minister, Kwabena Okyere Darko Mensah, said gold is a top revenue earner for the government, and reaffirmed commitment to help government develop the mining sector.
He indicated that many cities and countries around the world were built on revenue from gold mining, and that the community could benefit from the concession if they acted in accordance with the law.
In view of this, he said, the CMS is a further proof of the commitment of Nana Akufo-Addo’s administration to the mining sector.