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Business News of Sunday, 15 July 2018

Source: citibusinessnews.com

International bodies mount pressure on government to lift ban on mining

Some international bodies are mounting pressure on government to lift the ban on all small scale mining activities to allow legally registered companies to operate.

According to international organization, PACT, the ban is causing legally registered small scale mining companies to lose millions of cedis invested in their operations as well as millions of job loss.

PACT also maintains that the burning of machines and the deployment of military personnel to man mining sites is expensive and unsustainable.

The latest development comes at a time when the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners has also expressed its displeasure at the prolonged ban.

More than one million people were employed directly in the small scale mining sector with 6 million more employed indirectly.

Government placed the ban 17 months ago, after massive destruction of water bodies across the country.

But speaking at a policy forum organized by the Institute of Economic Affairs on the small scale mining sector, Director of PACT, Christina Maria Villegas said government should adopt effective strategies to ensure responsible mining as banning has never been a successful way of fighting illegal mining.

“Mine owners are in serious debt to pay banks and individuals they borrowed from to work. And there have never been a situation where mining ban has worked, never! Nowhere in the world,” she stated.

To her the ban is needless, expensive and causing several problems.

PACT therefore wants government to immediately allow those who have illegally registered and can show that they are working responsibly to resume mining.

It also wants government to examine the legal framework to ensure that mining becomes legal.

Meanwhile US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert Jackson who is in support of the latest call also wants the ban lifted as soon as possible.

He wants government to develop a better regulatory framework to ensure best mining practices.

“The goal should be getting the small scale miners into the legal mining sector. So in order for the government to be able to achieve its ultimate goal, the ban should be lifted as soon as possible.”

Mr. Jackson noted further that Ghana’s economy needs the small scale miners sector among other factors to improve.