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 19th Community Mining Scheme (CSM) at Atwimanso in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region.
CMS is a community-centred mining module that promotes local participation in responsible harnessing of Ghana’s mineral resources
Speaking during the launching ceremony, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker, stressed that the CSM would provide sustainable and profitable employment opportunities to more than 2000 people in the area.
He therefore charged them to be responsible in protecting the water bodies in the area. 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.
The Deputy Minister rejected claims from certain quarters that CMS had not enjoyed the full embracement of the Ghanaian public.
He emphasized that the CMS had, so far, been a success as Ghanaians, particularly those in mining communities have taken keen interest in it.
While commending the large-scale mining companies that accepted to cede parts of their concessions for the Atwimanso CMS, Mr Duker reiterated government’s decision not to ban small-scale mining operations in the country. He pointed out that contributions from small-scale mining had contributed to Ghana regaining its position as Africa’s biggest gold producer.
The sector, he indicated “has been established to have employed One Million people directly”.
Laying emphasis on the Key role the CMS plays in advancing the socio-economic development of Ghanaians, he said “the initiative is one of the surest ways for government to actualize its goal of raising local champions in the mining industry”.
The Deputy Minister urged management of the Atwimanso CMS to adhere strictly to the laws governing the establishment of the CMS. He, however, warned that government, through the Minerals Commission will not hesitate to withdraw the operational license and prosecute officials and staff who are found to have acted in contravention of the law.
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.
Mr Mireku Duker indicated that the Atwimanso CMS is the only official scheme being launched in the Community and warned them against operating CMS that has not been sanctioned by the Ministry.
He also announced that government will continue to set up more Community Mining Schemes at areas which are suitable for Small Scale Mining.
For his part, the Member of Parliament for Amansie South, who is also the Deputy Minister of Food and Agriculture, Yaw Frimpong, thanked the sector Minister, the Ministry and the traditional authorities in the area on the establishment of the CMS in the community.
Mr Frimpong also used the opportunity to preach against illegal mining (galamsey), urging his constituents to stand up and fight the menace.
The District Chief Executive (DCE) of the area, Clement Opoku Gyamfi, also warned the residents against taking advantage of the CMS to undertake illegal mining activities.
He was particularly grateful to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources for heeding their call for the established of CMS in the area.