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19.11.2008 Business & Finance

Small-scale Miners To Study In Ghana


Government, with Cabinet directives, is sponsoring  a 25 member delegation of Small-Scale Miners, selected from mining communities noted for intensive small scale mining operations across the country, this include, the Western, Eastern and the Upper East Region for a two-week study tour in the People's Republic of China.

The trip, which is being facilitated by the Shaanxi Mining Company, based in Xian, China is aim at replacing rudimentary technologies used by small scale miners through the adoption of modern and cost effective mechanised technologies as well as mitigate the dire environmental and health hazards associated with small scale mining operations in Ghana.

At a Press briefing yesterday, in Accra, Mrs Esther Obeng Dapaah, Minister for Lands, Forestry and Mines, noted that government recognises the immense contributions by the small-scale mining sub-sector, which has employed over 500,000 Ghanaians, thus contributed to Ghana's gross domestic product(GDP) over the past hundred years.

'This demonstrates government's commitment to boost the small scale sub-sector as a vehicle for employment generation and poverty reduction,' she said.

According to her, the sector accounts for 10.43 per cent of total gold production, generated about 120 million US Dollars as well as 92 per cent of total diamond production amounted to 28 million US Dollars.

The Minister said it is important to introduce strategies targeted at promoting the sub-sector to further enhance the efficiency and the sustainability of the operations in the sector.

The beneficiaries will learn how well legalised small scale mining can be conducted in sustainable manner and acquaint the miners with advantages that can be derived from organising small and artisanal miners into co-operatives and associations, she stated.

Mrs Obeng Dapaah said as a continues effort by the government to ensure proper management by the miners in the country, the government has organised training and educational programmes particularly on the safe handling of mercury, studies to identify viable lands for small scale mining operations.

She added that after several years of consultation and debates, the government has finally offered a total of 480,000 acres of land with potential for gold mineralisation throughout the country for small scale mining.

A representative of the delegation, commended the government for such an initiative and said it will go a long way to improve upon their operations in the country.

Whiles in China, the delegation will visit Dimension stone, Limestone and the precious stones polishing mines and factories. The team will also attend a series of seminars to appraise  themselves with the structure and modus operandi of the Chinese small scale mining sector, the regulatory framework and other relevant aspects of the mining industry.

The delegation took off yesterday.