The Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu has asked members of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners to exercise restraint as the government works to fully implement measures to ensure responsible mining in the country.
He said the government is ready to allow them go back to work as soon as it sanitizes the sector and rid it of illegal mining.
Mr. Amewu was reacting to concerns by the small-scale miners that the current ban on their operations was greatly affecting their livelihoods and will have a negative effect on the sector.
There is currently a ban on small-scale mining in the country following the widespread devastation of the water resources and forest reserves due to the activities of illegal miners.
A six-month ban, which was imposed by the ministry earlier in 2017, elapsed in October 2017, but was extended to January 2018.
President Akufo Addo indicated at a media encounter on Wednesday that a decision on the way forward would be taken after a meeting with a team of experts next week.
He, however, added that a lot more needs to be done in the crusade against illegal mining. But the miners believe the President’s stance is an indication that the ban might be extended for the second time.
The General Secretary of the Small Scale Miners Association, Godwin Armah in a Citi News interview said the ban must be lifted to avert the likely challenges the sector will face.
But according to Mr. Peter Amewu, although the government appreciates their concern and efforts to help it address the problem of illegal mining, it cannot rush the process.
“We appreciate their concern but they should exercise some patient and the right thing will be done. Government is not against small-scale mining, Opportunity exists for them but we are concerned about the methodologies and their approach,” MR. Amewu said in a Citi News interview.