Dr. Joyce Aryee, former Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Chamber of Mines, has asked leaders to find solutions to the illegal mining menace, as it is draining the economy of huge revenue and destroying the environment.
“The challenge of illegal gold mining is very serious. It is affecting government’srevenue and water-bodies. In the next five years every source of water bodies will be contaminated.
“Farm lands will be destroyed and agriculture will be so affected, which will lead to extensive environmental degradation. The danger is that most of them are using dangerous chemicals like cyanide in their operations,” she said.
Speaking to the Accra Mining Network, made up of diverse professionals from the industry, Dr. Aryee said: “This is the time for those who have knowledge about the destruction caused by illegal mining activities to point out and condemn it.”
Although the Minerals Commission grants licences for small-scale mining, licencees have not always respected the terms - while some people mine illegally and destroy vast vegetation cover in search of gold.
Dr. Aryee said in spite of the challenges the sector is faced with there are opportunities in the industry for skilled small-scale miners, and urged professionals to come together to tap those opportunities.
According to her, apart from creating jobs, pulling together these synergies of professionals can help in the promotion of safe mining practices.
The meeting with the mining professionals was called at the request of the Accra Mining Network to discuss and understand some key issues facing the sector.
The interactive session saw the former CEO responding to concerns from members of the group on various issues ranging from small-scale mining issues, retention policies, education and training, regulation among several others.
She explained that the country’s mining institutions are training many mining experts, but the industry’s human resource is shrinking.
Mining and agriculture, she observed, can co-exist -- adding that business collaborations must be formed to help solve the illegal mining menace and bring transformation to the sector.
The AMN is a not-for-profit, apolitical NGO concerned with the general welfare of the vulnerable in the mining profession, spanning from student to retirees.