Environmentalists advocate precision mining to protect environment

Environmentalists advocate precision mining to protect environment

Ghana - 20 July, 2021

Some environmentalists are advocating the adoption of what they term precision mining system and the signing of reclamation bond to help promote responsible mining among small-scale miners. These recommendations were made at a national multi-stakeholder dialogue (MSD) workshop organized by Tropenbos Ghana under the NORAD-funded project ‘Securing Food and Ecosystem Services in Mining Plagued Regions of Ghana’.

Precision mining system ensures areas with enough gold deposits, identified through geological investigation are mined. Under the traditional small-scale mining, miners dig concessions indiscriminately in search of gold. Explaining the impact of the current system of mining, Deputy Executive Director for Operations at the Environmental Protection Agency, Ransford Sakyi said, “If you dig everywhere for gold, how do you get money to reclaim all these areas? It is one of the reasons why there are a lot of degraded mined lands in the country.”

Dean for the Faculty of Renewable Natural Resources - KNUST, Prof. Kyere Boateng, believes investment in precision mining will help promote responsible mining. “If it is a technology working elsewhere, we need to make efforts to get the same technology here because it will reduce the cost involved in mining and also ensure that we don’t dig where there is no gold. This will translate into less damage done to the environment”, he said.

The Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999 requires miners to post a reclamation bond based on approved work plan. Large scale miners post bonds financially to serve as a surety to cover the cost of environmental damage at the site during or after operation. However, the EPA is yet to strictly subject small-scale miners to this requirement. Small-scale miners however believe that the bond may adversely affect their operations. The Oda district chairman of the Ghana National Association for Small-Scale Miners, Mohammed Amao said the bond will be effective if miners are made to prospect the land for gold to know if there is enough gold to cover expenditure or cost of operation.

The national MSD climaxed similar events from various districts where the project is being implemented. The Project Manager, Kwame Appiah Owusu was optimistic the appropriate Ministry will accept the contributions gathered from the national dialogue to help the country’s fight against illegal mining.