The General Secretary of the Small-scale Miners Association, Godwin Amarh says the small-scale mining sector is force to reckon with in Ghanas economy.
He said the sector, aside of being one of the biggest employer, brings more than GH¢50 million Ghana Cedis (GH¢) into country every week in respect of gold export.
Mr. Amarh who made the observation at a meeting with small-scale miners in Upper West at Wa called on miners to eschew tendencies that will divide their ranks.
The General Secretary underscored the necessity for miners to stick together in order to overcome what he termed the bigger challenge of the Association.
“For us to move on as a people we need unity. Without unity, we will not be able to achieve our sense of purpose as humankind. If we dont have oneness and there is division, we will always be having the enemies within us, who will be winning. So I will urge you all as miners that we should be together. Lets take away any differences, any lingering issue that will not let us to be together. What brings us together as a people is mining. If not mining, I will not be here and you will not be here, so lets look at mining as something that is bringing us together and also giving us our sense [source] of livelihood” He said.
Mr. Amarh told small-scale miners to be proud that they are contribution towards national development of Ghana.
The General Secretary indicated that as part of measures to improve the small-scale mining sector, government has introduced measures such as drone, galamstop, vetting, stickers, insurance and tax identification numbers (TINs).
He also touched on womens participation in mining, child labour, the use of mercury of and collaboration between miners and chiefs.
The Vice President of the Small-Scale Miners Association, Philip Akuffo entreated small-scale miners to endeavour to register as members of the Association and also make it a point to operate devoid of politics.
He equally stressed that they should not involve themselves in illegal mining. A Member of the Communication Team of the Association, Ben Annan reiterated the need for miners to have a unified force in order to thrive.
He regretted that foreigners are benefitting more than the locals in the sector, saying we are sitting at the bank of the Black Volta, but we are washing our hands with saliva.
The Wa District Officer of the Minerals Commission, Dickson Achindiba who took the miners through process of license acquisition, explained that the Commission does not issue the license but only recommends to the Minister responsible to grant the permit/license.
He told the gathering that our licenses are site specific and it involved a surveyed site plan. Mr. Achindiba continued that mining licenses are not like driving licenses that can be used at any place.
The National Organiser of Small-Scale Miners Association, Alhaji Baba Ahmed recalled the effects of the moratorium on small-scale mining on miners as well as the subsequent lifting of the ban and noted that it is encumbered on those in the sector to do the right thing to avert further sanctions from government.
The Deputy Upper West Regional Commander of Police, ACP Peter Ndekugri advised small-scale miners to ply their businesses in a decent manner.
He said members of security committee of mining entities should be people without criminal records.
ACP Ndekugri stressed the importance for miners to follow the appropriate procedures in arming the security committees of their mine sites.
Story and pictures by Emmanuel Mensah-Abludo