Within the mandate of the University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR), Sunyani to promote the development of human resources and skills required to solve critical energy and natural resources challenges of society and undertake interdisciplinary academic research and outreach programmes in engineering, science, economics and environmental policy, the University has held a two-day transformational dialogue on the way forward in the artisanal and small-scale mining sub-sector in Ghana, from Wednesday, May 25 to 26, 2022 at Sheila’s Executive Lodge in Sunyani.
The Dialogue on the theme “Enhancing Multi-stakeholder Approaches towards addressing challenges of the Artisanal and Small-scale Mining sub-sector in Ghana: and the Institutional dynamics for sustainable practices”, provided a common platform for the expression of opinions, ideas and research findings as well as recommendations from academia, mining practitioners on the grounds, government and private institutions and some ranking members on Parliamentary Select Committee on mining as well as traditional leaders.
Delivering a speech on behalf of the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, his Special Advisor on Mines, Mr. Ben Aryee noted that small-scale mining makes a large contribution to the socio-economic development of Ghana. Mr. Aryee further indicated that the small-scale mining sub-sector has the potential to spur growth and catalyze an economic transformation of the Ghanaian economy if organized well. He, however, expressed worry over the practice whereby the sector is bedeviled by wanton illegalities and destruction of forests and wildlife resources, water bodies, and aquatic life, among others, must stop because it is a threat to the citizens’ very existence as a country.
The University Council Chairman, Prof. Kwasi Nsiah Gyabaah in his address indicated that the Dialogue is an ongoing process to promote an end to the negative impact of artisanal and small-scale mining and to preserve the precious resource for the future generation. He also lamented the inability of political figures to address the challenge due to fear of losing the people’s votes, adding that by giving the right political will, the menace could be addressed.
Recognizing the significance of Artisanal and Small-scale Mining in the economy, the Vice-chancellor of UENR, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako in his address to welcome the participants, reiterated that the sub-sector directly employs about 1 million people in Ghana and indirectly supports about 4.5 million more, hence its contribution to the country’s GDP growth cannot be underrated. He disclosed that the University through its School of Mines and Built Environment is equipped and ready to play a role in the country’s economy by giving training and developing the requisite technological skills for the sector’s growth.
At the end of the 2-days, the Dialogue registered that for sustainable development in the mining sector, all hands must be on board to fight the menace. Also, equal attention should be given to small-scale mining as done to the large scale. It was also noted among many recommendations that government agencies and authorities involved should gear towards ensuring responsible and licensed mining by conglomerating the small-scale miners to become strong companies with the government as the sole gold buyer that is qualified for the international trade market.
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