The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Hon. Samuel A. Jinapor, on May 17 to 18, 2023, delivered a keynote address to open the 2nd Annual Two-Day Transformational Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining, held at Sheila’s Executive Hotel in Sunyani. Hon. Jinapor in his address said addressing the challenges posed by small-scale mining in Ghana needs collective efforts which is void of political colours.
According to the Minister, Small scale mining plays a vital role in Ghana’s economy. In 2018, he said it contributed over 40% of our gold output, and all diamonds produced in the country were from small-scale mining. He, however, said a blind eye cannot be turned to the environmental destruction and illegalities that have tarnished the sector’s reputation. The Minister called for collaboration among all stakeholders in finding practical solutions to the subject matter is essential.
“We must work together, pooling our expertise and resources, to achieve a sustainable and responsible small-scale mining sector that respects the rights of all actors involved. Education on responsible mining practices is essential, and I hope that this Transformational Dialogue will result in practical solutions and a renewed commitment to sustainable small-scale mining”, the Minister stressed.
Section of participants at the Dialogue
The Minister noted that the government is not against small-scale mining but it has a strong will to ensure responsible mining in the country. He further expressed his confidence in the collective effort to achieve a sustainable and responsible small-scale mining sector that respects the rights of all stakeholders. He was hopeful that the Dialogue would generate practical solutions and a renewed commitment to sustainable small-scale mining in Ghana.
Hon. Jinapor also praised the University for organizing the Transformational Dialogue and recognized the role of academia in small-scale mining regulation. He commended the university for establishing sustainable mining and environmental protection programmes and emphasized the importance of research and innovation in promoting responsible mining practices.
The Dialogue organized by UENR under the auspices of the School of Mines and Built Environment, aimed to address the sustainable exploitation of natural resources, particularly in relation to small-scale mining operations in Ghana.
The University Council Chairman, Prof. Nsiah-Gyabaah who chaired the dialogue in his speech expressed worry about the high rate of the illegal mining menace in Ghana. He said, “The galamsey menace is so serious that the next general election will be determined by the way and manner in which the political parties will address the issue in their manifestos”. He assured that the University Council will continue to rally its support towards the University’s mandate on issues of natural resources and the environment.
The University Council Chairman, Prof. Nsiah-Gyabaah (left)
The Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako in his address to welcome participants to the Dialogue recounted that last year’s inaugural event set the stage for this year’s dialogue, emphasizing the importance of a feedback mechanism to facilitate, review and growth. The Dialogue according to the Vice- Chancellor resulted in a 23-point statement highlighting the challenges faced by the small-scale mining sub-industry.
“Encouragingly, several relevant agencies have adopted this communiqué as a guide for policy development, signalling progress in the right direction. Artisanal and small-scale mining, a prevalent industry in underdeveloped countries across Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Central and South America, has the potential to uplift rural populations if properly organized, controlled, and monitored with a strong environmental focus”, he said.
Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Elvis Asare-Bediako giving the welcome address
The Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana, Martine Moreau who joined the programme virtually, commended UENR for convening stakeholders to discuss an issue of international concern. She reiterated Canada’s commitment to contributing to the environment and mining-related activities.
The Dialogue recorded a massive attendance, including the Bono Regional Minister, Hon. Justina Owusu- Banahene, Chief Executive Officers, Board and Directors of government institutions and the private sector, some Traditional Leaders, and Non-Governmental Organizations. There were three (3) technical presentations from 10 institutions including a poster exhibition.