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General News of Monday, 17 December 2018

Source: 3news.com

Only 15 small-scale mining groups can begin operations today – Government

Only 15 trained small-scale mining entities validated and cleared by the government to engage in responsible small-scale miners in the country can begin operations from their respective sites effective today.

According to the government, of the 332 small-scale mining companies or groups validated, only these 15 companies have satisfied the minimum requirement to begin their mining operations from today as the ban on small-scale mining is lifted.

The companies will operate in Ashanti, Central, Eastern and Western regions, and will serve six-month probation, a document by the government sighted by 3News stated.

A total of 332 others will who have secured what the government termed as conditional qualification, are to renew or submit their EPA permits and or operating permits by January 17, 2019, before they can operate.

Per the document, the number of months lost for the mining licences and environmental permits which were valid before the ban will be credited to these companies.

According to the document, the operating permit which was paid for in 2017 will be credited to them for the year 2019.

Government last week announced that the more than 3,000 validated small-scale miners have been cleared to begin operations today when the ban on small-scale mining is lifted after almost two years.

Ahead of the lifting of the ban, a new policy framework for regularizing and reforming small-scale mining activities in the country was unveiled by the government Friday.

The framework was the result of the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee that was established to supervise the ban and the transition to the new legal and well-regulated mining regime. The framework has since received cabinet approval.

The ban on small-scale mining was imposed in March 2017 by the Akufo-Addo government upon the realization that that small-scale mining was being used as a cover for irresponsible mining in many parts of the country.

The activities of these illegal, irresponsible miners caused destruction to large tracts of farms, water bodies and large forest vegetation.