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02.08.2021 Letter

An Open Letter To His Royal Majesty, King Osei Tutu II : The Creation Of Millions Of Jobs For The Youth Of Ghana Through Responsible And Efficient Small Scale Mining Operations

By Major Mohammed Bogobiri (rtd)
An Open Letter To His Royal Majesty, King Osei Tutu II : The Creation Of Millions Of Jobs For The Youth Of Ghana Through  Responsible And Efficient Small Scale Mining Operations
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His Majesty, the King, the youth of your great Kingdom and the nation at large are seriously looking for jobs for survival from the harsh economic condition which the COVID-19 has come to worsen it further. His Majesty, the King, our dear President has indicated in his first National Address on COVID-19 that he cannot revive a dead person but he can restore or resuscitate or fix a bad post COVID-19 economy. So thanks for the proponents of the Constitution for Article 257(6) which has vested all Minerals in the President for the People.

So, Small Scale Mining can help the President create millions of jobs and the fixing of the economy. His Majesty, pardon me to expatiate on Small Scale Mining. It is globally known as a poverty driven informal economic activity conducted mainly by Artisanal Mining methods (labour intensive) and thus acknowledged globally to be a source of employment for over 100 million operators. In Ghana, researches conducted into the sector revealed that about one (1) million artisanal miners (majority of them were women due to the labour intensive nature that requires a lot of personnel in stone crashing with hammer, hauling of ore in head pans, panning of the ore etc) operated in the Upstream. Research indicated that about four (4) million people were also involved in both the Side Stream (Supply Chain or supported services) and the Downstream (distribution, beautification or value addition by blacksmiths, makers of jewelries).

His Majesty, the King, the total of 5 million combined workforce in the three stages in the small scale mining industry in Ghana as stated above, was reported to support about two million dependents for sustenance or financial support thus making a total of 7 million or about 25% of Ghana’s population of about 28million as at 2015 depending on the Small Scale Mining industry Hence, the Artisanal Mining sector provides the next highest employment numbers in Ghana after Agriculture, therefore it has both huge economic, political or socio-economic constituencies, for these reasons no Leader (Politician, Tradional, Social) or a political party that understands the demographic dynamics in the sector with complex Economic, Social and Political undertones should joke with this sector which must be given the necessary interventions to create and sustain jobs in the Small Scale Mining Sector and generate revenue for the Country as well as make Small Scale Mining the halt migration to the Cities and rather serves as a pull effect to the rural areas.

His Majesty, the King, the Economy Recovery Programe which was launched in 1982 by the PNDC, made the PNDC with the support of the World Bank to come out with the Structural Adjustment Programe and this led to the passage of the Mining and Minerals Law 1986 (PNDC153) to attract Direct Foreign Investment into the Mining Sector. At the time of the Structural Adjustment Programe, the Chairman of the PNDC (herein the Late Papa J) and the World Bank detected widespread activities of Artisanal Miners including participation of retrenched staff of Mining and other Companies due to the Structural Adjustment Programme. The affected locals who saw their mining activities as God-given answer to their miseries or an answer from God for their survival in such harsh living conditions maintained the name of their activity as Galamsey operations which was coined during the Colonial rule era. So Papa J, in his policy of if you cannot beat them find a way for a win -win solution came out with Section 77 of the Mining and Minerals Law 1986 (PNDCL153) on Small Scale Mining and regularized their operation.

His Majesty, the King, the Legalization as you are fully aware of, is just a one stop action or a destination or a Target and Formalization is process/trip to the Destination or Target (Legalization). So as part of the Formalization process to deal the associated risks of Environmental degradation, Economy vises especially through smuggling, social vises including use of child labour, the PNDC further enacted the Small Scale Gold Mining Law 1989 (PNDCL218) that restricted Small Scale Mining to Ghanaians not less than 18 years. In order to kill two birds (namely the associated risks or hazards and to prevent Ghanaian tycoons to capture Small Scale Mining to the detrimental of the youth or the people of the rural areas) with one stone, the PNDC came out with the Small Scale Gold Mining Law 1989 (PNDCL215), when the law restricted it to Ghanaian of not less than 18 years., and that an area will be designated for Small Scale Mining if and only if it is in or for the interest of the affected areas and law placed caveats (limitations) which included not more than 4 acres for one person, and not more than 25 acres for Cooperative of 10 or more people, no use of excavators (or sophisticated equipment and Technology), no use of substantial amount of money, no use of Explosives etc.

The PNDC also came out with the Headquarters of the Small Scale Mining at Tarkwa and established District Mining Committees at the affected mining areas to support and control the activities of Small Scale Miners. To deal with the associated economic Risk then (lack of legal market avenue as well as to ensure no smuggling etc the PNDC enacted the Precious Minerals Marketing Company Law 1989 (PNDCL218) for the Company to buy gold from the operators.

PNDC Law 215 of 1989 was applied in 1996 by the Minerals Commission for the legalization and formalization of Galamsey Mining Communities namely Kejetia Mining Community and Obuasi Mining Community established in Gbane in the Talensi District in 1994 by some people from the Kingdom of His Majesty. You may wish to read this, so see Appendix 1.

His Majesty, the King, as a senior citizen in your Kingdom, which was noted for the preponderance of small scale mining activities, so with the above intelligence on responsible Small Scale Mining as an engine for job creation for millions of the people and revenue for the Country, I deemed it very important to submit recommendations through you (His Royal Majesty) to help the Government of the day to rise up to the challenges in the Small Scale Mining sector with the view to dealing with the unemployment challenges faced by the youth and also help provide funds for capital and other projects for the Nation to move out from the seemingly economic doldrums due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also worth stating that, I have some skills in mining coupled with good ideas (supported with a write up) on the relocation/settlement of Galamsey operators, when I was with the Bogoso Gold Ltd, where I developed a pungent interest for the growth of responsible and efficient Small Scale Mining (you may wish to have evidence of this, so please read this at Appendix 2). Hence, I am today presenting through you, (His Royal Majesty) my perspectives on making Small Scale Mining an engine for the growth of very authentic Sustainable Livelihood and Sustainable Development through responsible minerals production and business through Transparency, Probity, and Accountability to ensure strict compliance with legal frameworks.

So, His Majesty, the King, I humbly beg your most gracious permission to let me address you without restraint from a person who feels that he has a responsibility to perform to his Country, Mankind, and History and above of all to the Supreme Being, who is Himself, the King of Kings. A mission through you, my King, a King of great wisdom, to help our dear Country through the current and subsequent Presidents of Ghana to create and or maintain jobs in the Small Scale Mining Sector after putting measures to reduce the massive Environmental degradation, Social and Economic vises associated with Small Scale Mining.

His Majesty, the King, Small Scale Mining as indicated is a global poverty driven phenomenon by over 100 millions of people, who mostly do so in an irresponsible manner, especially without care to the environment, and very disturbing social and economy concerns. It is done mainly by rural folks in most countries including China, Columbia, Nigeria, South Africa, Brazil, Tanzania, DR Congo, Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Mongolia, Burkina Faso and Ghana, as a subsistence economy activity, hence an informal economy thus with illegal undertone done.

So, His Majesty, the King, as stated one of the mining method in Ghana which can generate millions of jobs within a very short time for the people is modern Artisanal Mining which is synonymous with Small Scale Mining conducted in most Countries including Brazil (where it is known as Gamespiro), in Ghana as Galamsey and in Tanzania. Hence in line with the First Principle of War and business success, that is Selection and Maintenance of Aim, my aim herein is to submit recommendations on how to make Galamsey or Small Scale Miners, to conduct their operations in very responsible manners especially environmental friendly and in good social and economic development settings and ways to navigate Small Scale Miners to Alternative Livelihood Projects.

His Majesty, the King, pardon me to bore you with the Characteristics of Small Scale Mining, which will help us to appreciate how we can cure some of the vices currently associated with it and also understand the less investment required for its operation as against Mechanized or Medium/Large Scale Mining. It is characterized as a nomadic time-honored mining activity which involves the use of simple or rudimentary tools, minimal expenditure for survival and not for amassing wealth this therefore suggest that the operations is not costly or capital intensive as in Medium and Large Scale Mining and the potential operators who are looking for means of survival may not be so greedy by continuing to operate throughout their life span. Hence, if properly guided, Artisanal Miners would accept to invest in different economic areas for them to navigate out from the mining sector to Alternative Livelihood Projects, in line with the principles of Sustainability in Mining.

Hence, some of the affected Countries are working hard with the support of the International Communities/Institutions like the USAID, UNDP, the World Bank and some Large Scale Mining Companies to help make Small Scale Mining responsible sustainable livelihood and Sustainable Development through compliance with legal frameworks with view to get the miners operate Alternative Livelihood Projects for final settlement into these projects. The situation in Ghana should therefore not be an exception for gaining the supportive efforts by the International Communities/Institutions.

His Majesty, the King, if Ghana considers it necessary to go along with other affected countries on the International Communities programme, then there must be a proper definition of Small Scale Mining. It is therefore recommended that Ghana should divorce Small Scale Mining basically Artisanal Mining from mechanized (semi-mechanized and full-mechanized mining) method by revisiting the laws enacted by the PNDC for Small Scale Mining and maintain the caveats as stipulated in the law and if necessary a separate law as Medium Scale Mining law for Ghanaian tycoons to operate solely or with foreigners, which is their trademark as research has revealed the illegal collaboration with Chinese in the Small Scale Mining sector restricted for Ghanaians

His Majesty, the King, Section 82 to 99 of the Minerals and Mining Law 2006 (Act 703) on Small Scale Mining is ambiguous. Among other reasons, it has led to the wrong amalgamation of mechanized mining methods with real Small Scale Mining which is regarded as labour intensive mining method without sophisticated equipment/Technology and is the major contributing factor to or the source of Ghana’s woes in the Small Scale Mining Sector including the inability for the numerous youth to gain employment in this Sector due to abuse of the law. Hence it is high time, the Parliament of Ghana repeals the current ambiguous Small Scale Mining Law and come out with two different nomenclatures namely Medium Scale Mining and Small Scale Mining in the Mining Sector in addition to large scale mining. These two nomenclatures should be backed by laws, namely Medium Scale Mining and Small Scale Mining Laws. His Majesty you may read some aspects on how to operate the Medium Scale Ming in Appendix 3.

His Majesty, the King, it should be noted that both Artisanal Mining and Galamsey share the same denominator (shared characteristics) globally, this implies that Galamsey is synonymous with Small Scale Mining. Hence, His Royal Majesty, as the custodian or owner of the Asanteman land which is endowed with gold with rich history of Artisanal Mining or Galamsey operations which existed since our respected ancestors started it before the 15th century, you may be interested to preserve the history and culture of your people, by seeing Artisanal Mining refined into responsible and efficient operations and not criminalized. So, the daily cacophony of criminalization of Artisanal Mining is not acceptable and must not be encouraged at all because the sin of the operators who are simply emulating the Galamsey trade of our great ancestors which was regarded since the 15th Century as God-given answer to their miseries or an answer from God for their survival .All that is required by the State to come with good interventions to make them operate in eco-friendly and efficient manner.

His Majesty, if Ghana’s stop criminalizing and demonizing Artisanal Mining (Galamsey) and regard Artisanal Mining as Small Scale Mining as purely an informal economic sector by the rural folks due to the method or scale of production, as stated above, we may be able to receive support from the USAID, World Bank, UNDP, International Labour Organization etc and some large Scale Mining Companies may be ready to help Galamsey operators operate in a responsible way at their cost base on win-win solution as demonstrated by Abosso Gold Ltd in 11996 or and the attempt of Bogoso Gold Ltd to cooperate with Small Scale Miners as Appendix 2 revealed). This was laudable demonstrated by Barracks Gold Mine Company in Tanzania and the good job by the Late President John Magufuli of Tanzania, which also helped Tanzania to generate revenue from the Small Scale Mining Sector. Please note over 5 Billion Dollars worth of gold from the Small Scale Mining sector was recorded as smuggled out of Ghana to United Arab Emirates in 2018 Another example of the good work of the International Communities, was a recorded support by the USAID to Small Scale Miners in Ivory Coast to invest their revenue from their Small Scale Mining activities in farming, which helped them to navigate to the farming of the lucrative avocado crop for export etc.

So, since the characteristic of Small Scale Mining is the same globally, Ghana, must also be on the same wavelength on Small Scale Mining issues with other Nations in the World, who are facing the same associated problems with Small Scale Mining. In this way, Ghana stands to attract the attention of and funding support from the International Communities especially the World Bank, USAID etc in capacity building for making Small Scale Mining a sustainable livelihood and sustainable development.

Ghana must come out with a Law for Small Scale Mining like Nigeria etc which should emphasis on Cooperative Mining. By this way, the easy control of their activities will be achieved and thus getting them to work responsibility. This may be so, due to Leadership or Governance system with ID Cards system to be instituted by the miners themselves in order to ensure they operate within the laws. Hence, it is recommended that if the State encourages and promotes the setting up of mining cooperatives and associations of miners, the Cooperative Mining would go a long way to simplify the control of the activities of members and facilitate both efficient assistance (technical, financial and equipment) and networking of the miners to enable them enjoy social capital, good training etc thus guarantee the sustainability of their activities.

His Majesty, the King, It is recommended like the farmers day, the Government should also come out with Small Scale Mining Day to commemorate the good work of Small Scale Miners which could also help to ensure the operate in a very responsible manner since on this day, the State should give awards (at least Certificates and tools to responsible cooperative mining groups) and also use this day with the support of the media to promote environmental awareness, promote training on mining and processing methods that are environmentally acceptable in order to improve skills and competency.

His Majesty, the King, a research in 2005 by GEOMAN Mining Consultant commissioned by the then Bogoso Gold Mine see evidence at Appendix 2, for the settlement of illegal miners in the Concessions of both Bogoso Gold Mine and those in AngloGold Obuasi tells that a mining area less than the combined Mining Rights currently granted to some small scale miners for used for mechanized small scale mining operation could be used for the operation of over 5,000 direct artisanal miners at the Upstream as against less than a total strength of 100 Staff by Ghanaian Tycoons operating at the Upstream in the Small Scale Mining sector. His Majesty, each of the 5,000 direct artisanal miners at the Upstream with allocated mining right or pits may need not less than five people directly in each pit (termed as ghettos by them), thus making a total of 25,000 operators at the upstream,

The 25,000 operators at the Upstream are likely to create jobs for about 100,000 people in the Side-Stream (Supply Chain/Support Services), in the provision of logistics mining inputs, transportation including taxi services or services of tricycle operators, food and water vendors, provision of other support services like security services, Susu (investments) collectors, collection and as part of a pension scheme payment of SSNITS Contribution or rather jobs for some youth supporting the collection of dues of Life Insurance from say Mylife Insurance Company, details to be submitted later) as provident fund and lastly operators or dealers at the Downstream in beautification or value addition (the gold jewelry industry). It is envisaged that about 500,000 dependents are also likely to depend on the combined effect of the 125,000 operators in the three stages to bring the total number to 625,000 for each of the about 15 regions where small Scale miners are operating or operated in the past.

His Majesty it is also envisaged that with an efficient application of the principles of sustainability in Mining through supporting/motivating the 25,000 operators at the upstream to invest in Alternative Livelihood Projects including Farming, Fishing, or other lucrative businesses, it is likely that they may create additional 25,000 other jobs before the each miner exit from the mining activity and concentrate in their Alternative Livelihood Projects. This speaks volume of the importance of Small Scale Mining in the Ghanaian economy.

His Majesty, it also envisaged that huge revenue in millions of dollars may be gained from Small Scale Mining gold sales and this coupled with Withholding Tax and the VAT or the consumption tax to be gained from the sector from the bout 625,000.00 people as indicated above would help greatly in national development.

His Majesty, the King, It is recommended that the Precious Minerals Marketing Company should be converted into Minerals Board akin to COCOBOD for both Precious minerals and Industrial minerals especially salt and be responsible for the extension services for both the Small Scale Mining and Medium Scale Mining. A Metallurgical Security protocol similar to what I prepared for the Bogoso Mine to ensure full accounting of gold produced and for sales which was accepted by Rand Refinery of South Africa, as an excellent secured one which made them to Rand Refinery of South Africa to agree to pay Bogoso Gold Mine upfront just upon received of the paper work signed by three key personnel as stated in the code namely especially a Security Rep, GRA Rep, and Manager or a Rep of Metallurgy Department.

His Majesty, the King, further recommendations are as follows; (a).Setting up an Authority for Small Scale Mining and the decentralization of mining sector administration, the issuance of license and permits/ as a way to guarantee proximity services, (b) Otherwise the institution of three level of governance namely National Governance (the Sector Ministries, Minerals Commission/ EPA etc), Local Governance (District Mining Committees etc) and lastly the Mining Community governance. There must be collaboration or Promotion of participatory principles by the three governance systems, and emphasis on consultation with mining communities in which the interests of community (in terms of cultural, social, traditional, ethnicity and religious and the interest of government (in terms of social, economic and environmental are preserved. (c).availability of mineable concession (with proven gold) for Small Scale Mining, (d). The supervision of the compliance of the laws, (e). Promote the installation of central processing units in order to minimize the environmental problems caused by disorganized waste disposal, (f). Government to limits her role in the sector to standardizing or normative and control issues and not the establishment of Community Mining activities (g). Operative activities like security protection should be outsourced to the private security services providers. (h) Government should introduce and expand competition at levels (Small Scale Mining and Medium Scale Mining) including safety competition, environment competition (including the Akoben programme by EPA) service delivery competition, commercialization competition, etc.) (g). finally, empower small-scale mining activity with capacity building (financial, technical, human skills and competency and investment skills for them to undertake Alternative Livelihood Projects), to allow its sustainable development and active contribution to the national economy.

Appendix 1

Kejetia and Obuasi artisanal mining (Galamsey) village at Gbane, near Bolga

His Majesty, in 1994, two different groups of people from Kejetia and Obuasi travelled to Gbane in the Talensi District in the North and occupied two viable mineral (mineable) areas in the area and created the Kejetia Mining Village and the Obuasi Mining village in 1994. Their operations was discovered and legalized /regularized by the Minerals Commission and EPA in 1996 with the indigenes of the area acquiring Mining Rights from Minerals Commission and permits from EPA for cooperative mining. Hence the area was thus brought under both National Governance system under the Sector Minister/Minerals Commission and Minister for Environment and the EPA and Local Governance system under the District Mining Committee/District Assembly. The two Mining Communities also instituted governance systems, as the Gbane Chief appointed his Representative (sub-Chief) for each of these two artisanal mining communities. Each tribal group also nominated its leader or sub-Chief to help the appointed Reps of the Gbane Chief to dominate the areas with delegated authority. All persons respected the Tindanaa as the Spiritual Leader of the area and consulted him whenever an incident especially a fatal one occurred or when they needed to step up gold production. Individual well do miners termed as barons acquired mineable areas and together with a mining team or staff of six to nine members, the barons constructed pits or mining Adith within their Mining Rights. As stated the miners operated in a grouping system consisting of a leader who may double as the baron owner of the Pits (Ghetto) and the financier, other members of a group or team includes, diggers, blast man, hauling team/ processing team, security and local boy (loco) as liaison officer etc. The members contributed and undertook self-help community projects or construction of infrastructure such as a school.

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Appendix 2

Appendix 3

His Majesty, Parliament should come out with a law to create a third category as Medium Scale Mining sector for Ghanaian mining tycoons to operate either solely or with well-defined participation of foreigners in joint ventures. The Ghanaian Business tycoons to register a Company under the Company Law 1963 (Act179). The Law on or Regulation Instruments for the operations of Medium Scale must require the following among others; (a). Mining lease of 50 acres for 15 years (b). Posting of Reclamation Bond as determined by EPA,(c). Employment of Mining Manager., (d) Employment of Safety Officer, (e) Employment of Environmental Officer (f) Employment of a Nurse, (g)Employment of at least 25 locals including security guards from a private security service provider,(h). Payment of Withholding Tax and SSNIT Contribution for all personnel. (i). Proper accounting of the Gold, hence the presence of GRA Official otherwise the District Minerals Commission Officer or the District NIB Officer to witness the number of bullion to be realized from smelting or processing gold ore and the weighing of the bullion. (j). Recording of the gold or bullion weight should be supported with triple signatures of the Mine Site Rep, Security Rep and that of the State Official from GRA (k). Prompt sale of the gold to Precious Marketing Company or by the Minerals Board as recommended.

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