ACEES Welcomes Govt’s Decision To Withdraw Security Forces From Illegal Mining Sites

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The Africa Centre for Energy and Environmental Sustainability (ACEES) has received with delight the decision of the government to withdraw Operation Vanguard from illegal mining sites.

ACEES emphasized that the use of armed security in the fight against illegal mining anywhere in the world, particularly Congo and Peru, has failed. Stating that evidence suggests that armed security personnel either get caught up in mining operations themselves, receive bribes, perpetrate human rights violations, which have resulted in the loss of lives in some instances.

The Centre in a statement signed by the Deputy Executive Director, Gideon Ofosu-Peasah noted that as a country, Ghana has had a history of failed attempts in the use of military interventions from 1980 to date. There is clear evidence that the use of security in fighting illegal mining is untenable and costly. The issue of artisanal and small scale mining is a “bread and butter issue” and as such must be approached with tact.

ACEES observed that at a point in time in the fight against illegal mining, informal miners changed their modus operandi to the night due to the inability of the military to provide 24-hour surveillance considering the landmass they were to cover and the lack of appropriate accoutrement. While Operation Vanguard operated during the day, informal miners worked during the night.

Our work as a Centre confirms that often times, informal miners station key informants at vantage points to notify miners on the inrush of the military”.

The Centre has, therefore, proffered the under listed solutions: provisionally withdraw any form of state security forces to informal mine sites; encourage the state to incentivize informal miners to obtain legal status by removing barriers to formalization. These barriers include huge costs in obtaining legal status, delays in the permitting process, difficulty in assessing capital, lack of appropriate technology just to mention but a few; leverage the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) and Artificial Intelligence (AI)  including Metal Detection Technologies (MDTs) to actively monitor environmental impacts rehabilitated sites, match patterns, analyse and better predict where to find minerals as used in the Australian small scale mining sector.

It further recommends the implementation of the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) Appraisal and Implementation Document of the five-year strategy that presents an integrated project management approach for achieving overall project outcomes, deliverables and collaboration with key stakeholders to sanitize the Galamsey menace, and scrap the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) and resource the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform their regulatory roles.

Finally, ACEES commended the government on the community mining concept and recommend a scale-up, as such deliberate approaches to  formalising the Artisanal and Small Scale Mining sector is key to correcting the nation’s trade balance, providing jobs, revenue, promoting local social and economic development.

Gilbert Borketey Boyefio

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