The former Secretary to the Inter-Ministerial Committe On Illegal Mining, Mr Charles Cromwell Nanabayin Onuawonto Bissue gives detailed summary on government’s efforts to address illegal mining and improve formalisation of the sector the President set-up the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) in March 2017 to coordinate the regulation of small-scale mining activities. The Committee has been involved in the following:
1. Vetting and verification of small-scale mining licenses/companies;
2. Training of over 4,500 miners in sustainable mining and mineral processing operations at the University of Mines and Technology;
3. Registration of excavators and subsequent installation of tracking devices.
4. A software known as GalamSTOP has been developed to track the lifecycle of mining licenses and associated permits, for real-time monitoring of GPS tracked excavators and as a platform to report illegal mining activities.
5. Drone pilots & data analysts were trained in districts where illegal mining is prevalent.
6. To facilitate the work of the drone pilots & data analyst at the district level, drones, tablets, high-end laptops (work stations) and other accessories were provided.
7. Officers from the Minerals Commission have also been trained as drone pilots & data analysts.
8. In collaboration with the Enhanced Pollution Monitoring (EPM) and sponsored by the European Space Agency, a customized satellite-based remote sensing service known as GalamWATCH has been implemented to map and monitor ASM activities as well as abnormal land cover changes such as associated with deforestation.
9. A livelihood diversification programme has been implemented targeting about 1,107 youth in 35 selected Districts that are adversely affected by illegal mining.
10. A Community Mining Programme was also implemented.
11. A Tree Planting and Environmental Campaign Project was also piloted
Community Mining Programme: The Community Mining Programme commenced in 2019 as a government flagship intervention designed to ensure sustainable livelihood opportunities for miners who do not have the financial resources to own their concessions to be part of a communally-owned mine. It is an all-inclusive approach to mining which involves the community including the traditional authority, land owners and miners as direct shareholders in the mining business and its funds management to ensure equitable distribution of returns. It aims assisting miners through enhanced technical capacity-building to adopt reduced mercury approaches (e.g. retorts) or at best mercury-free technologies in gold processing; and improving the gold supply and value chain and encourage local community participation. The programme is currently being piloted at Wassa Amenfi East, Akrofruom and Adansi North Districts. To facilitate the pilot, government provided support by undertaking demarcation of concessions for the CMP at no cost to the miners.
Tree Planting and Environmental Campaign Project: Illegal mining activities, encroachment by human settlements and poor agricultural practices among others have degraded the vegetative cover along of the major water bodies. These activities have also jeopardized the physical quality of these rivers. To intervene and reverse this trend, a Tree Planting and Environmental Campaign Project was launched in the Wassa East and Shama Districts. The aim of the pilot project was to protect the Riverine Buffer Zones by Planting Hybrid Coconut Trees along the Pra River at Daboase and Shama in the Wassa East and Shama Districts respectively as well as the Anankwari River at Nchaban in the Shama District.