Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

Minister for Lands and Natural Resources Mr. Samuel A. Jinapor has given assurance that his ministry will not relent in its efforts to build a responsible and sustainable small-scale mining industry in the country.

Government, he indicated, was committed to fight illegal mining and the ministry will continue to implement the relevant policies to come to grips with the situation.

Mr. Jinapor gave the assurance when he presented 95 small scale mining licences to the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, the Minister who is also the MP for Damongo in the Savannah Region, hinted that a number of small scale mining applications were being vetted, and licences will be issued to deserving persons once the process is complete.

At a short ceremony to present the licences to the leadership of GNASSM, Mr. Jinapor said the successful applications have gone through peer review by the Small Scale Miners themselves, in addition to the vetting by the Minerals Commission and the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. George Mireku Duker.

He said even though government is not against small scale mining, the policy of the Ministry is to ensure that small scale licences are not granted haphazardly or recklessly, but only to people who are committed to responsible and environmentally-sound mining practices.

The Minister said in some developed jurisdictions, responsible small scale mining forms the pivot of employment, and creates a thriving local economy.

He said the illegalities associated with small scale mining has often clouded the benefits the country can reap from sector.

Touching on measures to clamp down on the illegalities in the sector, he said the Ministry has adopted a two-pronged approach, that is, law enforcement and policy and regulatory reforms.

He warned those involved in illegal mining to desist from the practice.

“We will not spare anyone caught, and we will continue to demobilise and decommission equipment found on illegal mining sites,” the Minister emphasised.

On working with the GNASSM, Mr. Jinapor said the Ministry cherishes the collaboration between the Association and the Ministry, and called on the leadership to assist the Ministry create a viable and responsible small scale mining industry that contributes meaningfully to national development.

The Minister said Government is pursuing a programme to ensure that the value of the mining industry remains here in Ghana, and the Small Scale Miners Association will play a crucial role in that. The Programme, he said, will include measures that will ensure that gold or any other mineral sourced from illegal activities is not purchased.

On their part, the leadership of the GNASSM thanked the Minister for engaging them in the process of issuing the licences.

Speaking on behalf of the leadership, the General Secretary of the Association, Mr. Godwin Armah, said members of the Association were worried about the delay in the granting of the licences but appreciated the rigorous processes that the applications had to go through.

He called on all those whose licences have been issued to operate within the confines of the law and the protocols established by the Minerals Commission.

Mr. Armah said the Association will support the Ministry in its regulatory functions, and will make sure that any person who goes contrary to the law is brought to book.

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