The government will, on Friday, announce a new policy framework for regularising and reforming mining activities in the country, the Minister of Information, Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has said.
The announcement comes 21 months after a ban was imposed on illegal, irresponsible and small-scale mining.
Speaking at a press briefing in Takoradi yesterday, Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the policy framework would also look at the institutional reforms within the mining regulatory agencies, the legal reforms in the mining sector and efforts to avert a resurgence of illegal and irresponsible mining.
He said the new policy framework would set out the ground rules within which the more than 3,000 newly trained former galamsey operators and thousands more who were interested in mining could operate legally.
It would also indicate how validated and legal responsible miners could mine after Saturday, December 15, 2018, he said.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said the policy framework would also outline the processes towards dredging and land reclamation in affected areas.
Ban on small-scale mining
The ban was imposed in March 2017 when it was observed that small-scale mining was being used as a cover for irresponsible and illegal mining in many parts of the country which led to the degradation of the environment, affecting severely rivers and forest reserves.
In some cases it even led to the contamination of agricultural produce as a result of the produce absorbing the dangerous chemicals used in the illegal operations.
Following the institution of the ban, a security operation known as ‘Operation Vanguard’ was launched to enforce the ban.
The operation, comprising the military and the police, has largely been successful in containing the situation.
Many recalcitrant operators were arrested and their equipment seized.
An inter-ministerial committee against illegal mining was established to supervise the ban and the transition to the new legal and well-regulated mining regime.
The committee has completed its work and received Cabinet approval to roll out the new framework.
Mr Oppong Nkrumah said it was the expectation of the government that stakeholders and the public would continue to cooperate with the authorities even as the new phase was rolled out.
He said today, at the National Policy Summit (NPS), the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Small-Scale Mining would give an update on the work done so far and the current status ahead of the announcement.