Small Scale Miners Fight Minister ...Over ‘Stop Work’ Directive

Small scale mining groups across the country have faulted the statement credited to Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. Peter Amewu directing that all small mining activities must be halted until further notice.

They described the directive as anti-business, adding that it could hurt many legal small scale mining firms and collapse a lot of young businesses.

The minister recently disclosed that, some of the small-scale miners who are originally mandated within the regulated framework and have a concession to mine in a sustainable way are also not doing that, because his

A small scale miner who is already counting his losses as a result of the new directive said, “If the Minister at this stage is threatening to use force  to get us out of business even when we have  agreed for a dialogue, such statement is condemnable. “We will resist such threat and use every legal means available because we own this country together.”

He complained that the business is a highly capital intensive venture as such any move that lacks proper analyses and finesse would go a long way to hurt the businessman who is doing genuine business “acquiring a license alone is not an easy thing and some of our people even end up going to the bank to take loans to facilitate the process, we therefore do not see why they put people like us in the same box with galamseyers’

According to him what government needed to do was to strengthen the appropriate institutions and resource them adequately to monitor and regulate the activities of miners “this media fight touring of sites and multiple directives is not enough, government must put down structures”

Meanwhile the Ashanti regional chapter of the small scale mining association at a press conference to express their grievances to President Nana Akufo- Addo said the group will petition the Asantehene Otumfuo Osei Tutu II over government’s fight to halt illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, across the country.

At an emergency meeting held at the TUC Complex in Kumasi Tuesday, an executive member of the Ashanti Regional artisanal miners’ chapter, Frank Osei, said the issue of illegal mining has been blown out of proportion. He accused government of giving the miners a bad name. “We have been demonised and it is not good for a government that wants to solve the escalating unemployment problem in the country” he stated. 

Spokesperson for the Small-Scale Miners Association in the Ashanti Region, Francis Osei, said members of the association had duly registered and obtained their licenses from the Minerals Commission and the ministry to mine, however, the government had lumped both legal and illegal miners together in its quest to fight against galamsey.

He said: “Our major issue is that the government has lumped together both the illegal small-scale miners and those of us doing legal mining. This is disturbing because we are licensed to do the work. We obtained the license from the Minerals Commission, made the necessary payment for the necessary documentations to work, but all of a sudden we are asked to stop work.

“The actual people destroying the land are the illegal ones and so we have petitioned the Asantehene to intervene and press on the government to allow the legal ones to go ahead with the mining and rather deal with the illegal ones.