The flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP), Dr Mahamudu Bawumia, has outlined a detailed plan for the mining sector which will help small-scale miners embark on responsible mining.
The Vice President in a nation’s address on Wednesday said about one million Ghanaians are engaged in small-scale mining.
He emphasised there is therefore a need to help transform these people to practice responsible mining, create more wealth, and also save the environment.
“About one million people are engaged in small-scale mining. Our goal would be to help grow small-scale mining companies into large-scale companies with capacity building and assisting them to access financing to acquire equipment.
“We can create many millionaires in the small-scale mining industry if we support them,” Dr Bawumia said.
Among other things, he said government will support the Minerals Commission to formalise and regulate the sector.
“My government will support the Minerals Commission and key stakeholders to formalize the Artisanal and Small-Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) sector to ensure that the activities of the entire value chain are sustainably and responsibly done so that most of the gold produced by this sector can be sold to the Bank of Ghana (BoG) and be eligible to be part of the gold reserves of the central bank,” he stated.
Dr Bawumia added, “will license all miners doing responsible mining. District Mining Committees, including chiefs, will provide initial temporary licenses to miners.
“As long as miners mine within the limits of their licenses, e.g. no mining in river or water bodies, there will no longer be any seizure or burning of excavators.”
“I will fully decentralise the Minerals Commission as well as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and ensure that they are present in all mining districts.”
Dr Bawumia added that, under his government, every Ghanaian in Small Scale Mining will register under the Ghana Small Scale Miners Association with their Ghanacard.
“We will, in collaboration with the large mining companies, convert abandoned shafts into community mining schemes and open more new community mining schemes.”
The Vice President further highlighted other initiatives including; Pension scheme for small-scale miners as we have for cocoa farmers.
• Introduce vocational and skills training on sustainable mining for small-scale miners in the curriculum of TVET institutions.
• Provide equipment to government authorities in mining communities to undertake reclamation of land
•Set up state-of-the-art common-user gold processing units in mining districts in collaboration with the private sector.
•Conduct an audit of all concessions with various licenses and new applications which will allow government to know licenses that have expired and non-compliance with licensing conditions.
• To encourage exploration, the Bawumia government will abolish the VAT on exploration services (like assaying) to encourage more exploration.
• We will establish, in collaboration with the private sector, a Minerals Development Bank to support the mining industry.
• We will establish (through the private sector) a London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) certified gold refinery in Ghana within four years.
• All responsibly mined small-scale gold produced will be sold to the central bank, PMMC or MIIF and will be required to be refined before export.”