Small-scale miners in Ghana are up in arms with government for its inability to lift the indefinite moratorium placed on all artisanal and small-scale mining operations throughout the country.
Though government, through an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) had in August, announced its decision to rescind the ban before the close of the year, it had failed to give a specific time for the rescission.
This action by government is what the Small-Scale Miners Union of Ghana (SSMUG) has termed as “dishonesty on the part of government.”
They have therefore given government a one-week ultimatum to announce the specific date for the rescission or face massive rebellion from their camp.
“We are not going to sit down and die, we are giving government a five-day ultimatum to roll out the roadmap to go back and work if not we are going to call a press briefing and order all our members who have a legitimate licence to go back and work,” President of the Union, Michael Peprah told Accra based TV3, yesterday.
He continued: “If someone comes to oppress us, we will resist the oppressors. It is as simple as that. we won’t sit down for politicians to sit down and do whatever they want with our lives.”
Mr. Peprah, obviously pissed by governments indecision to restore the livelihood of small-scale miners said, illegal mining activities which government tried to put a halt to, was still in full force.
“As I speak to you now, there are galamsey activities going on in the country. The clear evidence is our water bodies. If you should go towards the Ofin, Ankobra and Tano, rivers are still being polluted by the activities of galamsayers,” he said.
He further accused government of instituting the Operation Vanguard and the IMCIM and using them as tools of bribery, corruption and torture on innocent Ghanaians.
Government after the ban had come out with a roadmap to check illegal mining.
The vetting of licenses as well as the mapping of concessions were amongst the few strategies.
The miners say they have fulfilled all of governments laid up rules and regulations.
“The government said they were going to vet our licence, we took it to them and they are done with the vetting, they said they were going to start mapping of concession, we gave them that opportunity and they came to map our concessions but as we speak now, it is getting to 2 years and we have not heard from them,” Mr. Peprah lamented.
He therefore called on well-meaning Ghanaians, the media to help drum their message and push for the rescission of the ban.
By: Grace Ablewor Sogbey/ firstname.lastname@example.org