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General News of Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Source: GNA

Extracting gold without mercury is possible- EU Delegate

Accra, May 5, GNA - Mr Claude Maerten, Head of the European Union Delegation to Ghana, on Wednesday urged small scale miners to make use of a technology that would enable them to extract gold without using mercury. He said a consultant had successfully developed a method for small scale miners, to use locally made portable furnaces with potentially positive effect on the environment. "It is of course imperative that this technique now be made widely available and utilized throughout the areas where small scale miners are present," he said.

Mr Maerten made this known at the opening of an exhibition to showcase the achievements of the Mining Sector Support Programme (MSSP). Mercury is a chemical used in mining. It is said to have a negative impact on the human being and the environment where mining is done. The MSSP is implemented by the European Union with the objective of sustaining the country's mining sector's economic performance as well as lessening the mines' negative environmental impacts. The Exhibition was held as part of the EU week celebrations in Ghana, from 4th to 9th May, 2010.

Mr Maerten said a total of 39 million Euros had been disbursed since the MSSP was signed in December 2002, adding that, the support provided through the programme was unparalleled.

He commended government for being at the forefront in implementing the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) and announced that Ghana recently received an extension for the EITI until September 2010. "We trust that Ghana will pursue the EITI with increased vigour and also extend the initiative to the oil and gas sector." Mr Maerten said the EU also supported non state actors or civil society organizations to enable them to engage in dialogue with government and raise awareness at the grassroots level of rights and obligations of stakeholders. Mr Henry Ford Kamel, Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, who read a speech on behalf of the Vice President John Mahama, said the MSSP had achieved institutional development and modernization at the sector Ministry as well as some related departments and agencies, to enable them to perform efficiently.

He lauded the development of the new technology as a substitute to using mercury by small scale miners and expressed happiness about its potential to minimize environmental pollution. Mr Kamel said the MSSP programme had also completed a feasibility study of the Western Corridor Infrastructure to help government in improving the Western Railway line and to improve haulage of bauxite and manganese from the mines to the ports.

Dr Joyce Aryee, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, urged government to pay special attention to the mining sector, especially the development of the Western Corridors. 5 May 10

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