Aug 21, 2017
Licensed small scale miners across the country say they will soon hit the streets to protest against the government for rendering them jobless.
This is because, the National Association of Small Scale Miners, made up of 1000 licensed mining groups and some 60,000 members say the government has not fulfilled its obligations under the agreement reached between them early this year before placing the ban on small-scale mining in the country.
A statement issued by the association signed by its Spokesperson, Mr Francis Opoku described the government’s inaction on the agreement as regrettable.
“It is rather pathetic that government has deceived us, as we still sit at home without any job for nearly six months. We have, therefore, resolved to embark on a massive demonstration as soon as possible to protest against the government,” it said.
Before placing a six-month moratorium on mining activities in April this year, the government reached a consensus with the legal small-scale miners on what would be done within the first four months of the period of the ban.
These include re-inspecting licenses and conducting a safety audit to ascertain the validity of their certificates to allow those qualified to return to work, train small-scale miners to equip them with knowledge in mining and reclamation, as well as not destroying seized machines and equipment of those caught mining within the period of the ban.
But the legal small-scale miners say the government has neither re-inspected their licenses nor trained its members on best mining practices. Contrary to the agreement, some mining equipment and machines seized by the national task force, commissioned to clamp down on illegal mining, have been destroyed.
The group accuses the government of being insensitive to the plight of about 560,000 members who have been jobless for nearly six months.
The association says the continuous ban on the activities of the legal small-scale miners would have adverse effects on the country’s economy.
“We can confidently say that more local banks would collapse if this issue is not dealt with because most of us have gone for loans to undertake our operations. The industry is huge, and the chain goes to cover diesel sellers, drivers, traders in generators, tools and several more,” the statement said.
Speaking to ADR Daily in an interview, Mr Opoku said the association would do everything within the laws of the country to protect their businesses.
“All that we need is an assurance from the government that they will keep to their side of the bargain and any attempt by the government to prevent us from mining will be fiercely resisted,” he said.
By Francis Tandoh/adrdaily.com