The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has sensitised small scale miners in the Upper East Region on Environmental Impact Assessment, as part of efforts to curb and mitigate problems associated with their activities.
Speaking at the programme on the theme: “Environmental Impacts of Small Scale Mining,” the Regional Director of the EPA, Mr Asher Nkegbe, expressed the need for the small scale miners to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency Act, 1994 (Act 490) and the Environmental Assessment Regulations, 1999 (LI 1652) as well as the Permit Conditions of small scale mining.
The Regional Director, who is also the National Focal Point in Ghana in charge of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification, told the participants to strictly adhere to good environmental practices, such as stockpile for future reclamation, backfilling with waste rocks, replacement of topsoil, and re-vegetation and complete recycling.
Mr Nkegbe also tasked the miners to ensure the construction and operation of settling pond, good maintenance of processing plants, stabilise workings with waste rocks, provision of waste bins, and toilet facilities and ensure the provision and use of personal protective equipment for workers at the sites.
“The construction of containment band and its effective management to avoid spillage and mercury pollution should be among the cardinal principles in your operations as small scale miners,” the Regional Director emphasised.
The Small Scale Miners, who expressed gratitude for the programme, gave the assurance that they would abide by the tenets of the environmental Impact assessment and called on the Government to create a conducive atmosphere in the sector to ensure the sustenance of their activities.
They also called on the EPA and the Minerals Commission to expedite action on the issuance of environmental permits.
Mr Peter Akapori , a 54 year old small scale miner in the “Accra site,” one of the mining communities in the area, said small scale mining is one of the major sources of livelihoods of the people in the region, and noted that the “Accra site” alone employs more than 1,000 people.
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