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Illegal Miners Deserve Harsher Punishment

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A lawyer and an Executive Director for the Centre of Public Interest Law (CEPIL), Mr. Augustine Niber, has expressed worry about the weight of punishment meted out to illegal miners after they have been arrested by the anti-galamsey task-force.

According to him, the penalties that are imposed on illegal miners are not stiff enough to keep them from our water bodies.

He made this statement on Friday, during his presentation on Small-scale mining regulatory frameworks and reforms in Ghana, at the UNDP ‘Nkitahodie’ Policy Dialogue held in Accra.

“It is proper to expressly set a law that prohibits within the set up that punishes any form of mining. This will provide stiffer punishment to offenders”, he recommended.

He also called for the need to provide a unique identification on gold mined by licensed operators, to differentiate them from that of the illegal miners.

“We can do a certification of the gold that comes from licensed operators to make it difficult for people within the illegal sector to have a market to sell.”

Touching on the challenges of Ghana’s mining laws, Mr Niber said the law failed to give limited number of concessions as well as provide grievance mechanisms for people who were dissatisfied.

He mentioned lack of provision of support services and the lack of clear provision of law that prohibited Small Scale Mining in river bodies as some of the challenges confronting the sector.

The Omanhene of Asante Asokore, Nana Professor S.K.B. Asante, in his contribution, said chiefs ought to be given a say in the activities of mining because they were accountable to the people and often bore the consequences of the illegal mining activities.

“It ought not to be the case that one person or a chief should be consulted before the issuing of the license adding that other subjects could also be included”, he stressed.

He further appealed to the Government to employ more staff into the Minerals Commission since personnel there were woefully inadequate.

The Nkitahodie Policy Dialogue was the second series organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), to provide a platform to critically examine the gaps in the small-scale mining legal regime, and provide concrete policy options and recommendations for its reform.

By: Emmanuel Yeboah Britwum/ thePublisher

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