The Vice President, Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia has indicated that in conjunction with the Bank of Ghana, government will begin a gold purchase programme which will involve the purchasing of gold from the small scale mining sector in the country.
Speaking at the maiden edition of the Responsible Small Scale Mining Awards, Dr. Bawumia revealed that “after series of deliberations, the Bank of Ghana has been persuaded to start this programme which is going to be the first of it’s kind in history”.
According to him, when started, ” the programme will be a boost for the small scale mining sector as purchases made will improve the country’s gold reserves”.
The Vice President described the mining award ceremony as a historic occasion which he is very proud to be a part of.
He opined that he sees the award to be something peculiar because “all too often, our problem solving turns to focus more on chasing and punishing wrong doers and not recognising and rewarding those who do right and this is what makes this award different”.
“The award recognises players in small scale mining sector who despite the temptation to join the wrong doing bandwagon, have decided to stay within the relevant regulatory framework for the country and to operate responsibly”, he explained.
He further stated a number of ways that Ghana has benefited from Small Scale Mining over the years, touting that he believes Small Scale Mining has contributed immensely to Ghana becoming the leading gold producer in Africa.
“As we all know, Ghana’s Gold production has increased significantly over the past few decades making it the leading Gold producer in Africa. The contribution of Small Scale Mining to this trend is commendable. Currently, it is estimated that the Small Scale Mining contributes about 35% to Ghana’s total Gold production and 35% is huge.”
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia, however, cautioned that regardless of the many advantages of small scale mining, if the act is not done responsibly, it can damage the environment. He therefore called on the miners to mine responsibly to help save the environment and the country’s natural resources.
The Vice President also commended the efforts of the sector minister, Samuel Abu Jinapor and his two deputy ministers for their leadership in the natural resources sector.
In his estimation, the minister has since his assumption of office brought a renewed approach to the process of ending galamsey through diverse initiatives. In this regard, he cited an example of how the minister made a passionate plea for the 3% withholding tax being paid by gold producers to be slashed down to 1.5%.
He went on to applaud the organisers of the programme for working tirelessly to achieve such a great feat for the mining sector and for Ghana.
He subsequently used the opportunity to congratulate the winners of the various awards, saying that the awards should be a motivation to other miners to do better at their jobs and also keep the environment safe whiles at it.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor in his welcome address, expressed his profound gratitude to the Vice President of the Republic and to the Chief of Staff for taking time off their busy schedules to honour his invitation.
He also sent out his appreciation to leadership and members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) for partnering with the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, to institute this all-important award scheme and for their tremendous support of Government’s quest to sanitise the small-scale mining industry.
The minister also disclosed that in the coming year, the ministry, will continue to pursue measures that are necessary to restore sanity into the small-scale mining industry.
In furtherance of this, he said they have already engaged ADB Bank to establish a Minerals Development Unit at the bank, which is to provide financial support to small scale miners, adding that the initiative, is expected to roll out early next year.
The minister intimated that as community mining scheme remains one of the surest ways of tackling illegal mining, they will continue to promote the community mining scheme to serve as a model for all small-scale mining operations.
Mr. Jinapor gave the assurance that the ministry will ramp up their regulatory efforts and continue to partner with the leadership of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners to weed out recalcitrant, illegal miners out of the industry, whilst encouraging and supporting genuine legal miners who have regard for the environment.
“We will never relent on this effort, and, God willing, and with your support, we shall realise the vision of President Akufo-Addo by constructing, here in Ghana, a viable, sustainable, orderly and environmentally-sound small scale mining industry. Together we can, and let us get this done”, he concluded.
General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM), Mr. Godwin Armah, congratulated the awardees saying ” Your victory is a symbol of the true reflection of our work and telling the whole world that Ghana is on course to revitalise the small scale mining sector.”
He thanked the organisers of the programme and advised miners that acquiring mining licences for their operations alone will not keep them in the industry but rather compliance to the legal framework is what will sustain their businesses in the future.
In attendance at the event was the Chief of Staff, Madam Akosua Osei-Opare, captains and players in the mining sector, parliamentarians amongst others.