As part of efforts to create jobs through responsible and sustainable small-scale mining, the government, through the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, has established two Community Mining Scheme (CMS) concessions at Moseaso-Abransie in the Manso-Nkwanta constituency of the Ashanti Region.
Speaking during the launching ceremony, on behalf of the sector, the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker, pointed out that these two bring the total number of opened CMS to 21 in the country.
CMS is a community-centred mining module that promotes local participation in responsible harnessing of Ghana’s mineral resources. The 19th CMS was recently launched at Atwimanso in the Amansie South District of the Ashanti Region
Mr Mireku Duker stressed that the CSM would provide sustainable and profitable employment opportunities to more than 7,500 people in the area. He said the Manso-Nkwanta and Moseaso-Abransie CMS concessions will create 4,500 and 3,000 direct and indirect jobs respectively.
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 support 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 two CMSs, 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 Manso-Nkwanta and Moseaso-Abransie 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.
He stressed on the importance of unity and peaceful coexistence between the companies and the communities as “ingredients necessary for successful operation”. He urged the firms to undertake various developmental projects in the respective communities and play their role in the growth of the community.
Mr Mireku Duker called for a paradigm shift towards the construction of a mining industry, in the 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 companies 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 companies,” 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.
The District Chief Executive of Amansie West, Nii Larteh Ollenu, thanked the Ministry and Minerals Commission for the innovation, and expressed the hope that “it will drastically reduce unemployment rate in the district”.
The Member of Parliament for Manso Nkwanta Constituency, George Obeng Takyi, said the small-scale mining is the preserve of Ghanaians and that government had taken a great step in ensuring that the citizens benefit directly from the blessings of nature.
He assured the Ministry to ensure strict adherence to the mining protocols to propel government in establishing more concessions to employ more of his constituents.