For Immediate Release. 29/05/2017
Re: Ban Small Scale Mining for 10 years
We at the Ashanti Regional Branch of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) find the legislator’s comments distasteful, disrespectful, backward-looking and unparliamentary, to have been uttered by somebody who should know better; given that, Small Scale Mining is a legitimate business which is backed by the laws of the Republic.
We hereby demand a retraction and apology from the honourable MP, if he has any regard for the laws of this country and the rights of work for its citizens.
The association is not oblivious of the reservations of the government and the populace to some of the ills of our activities and its attendant effects on the environment, which has resulted in a 6 months moratorium on all forms of Small Scale Mining activities in Ghana.
Much as we appreciate those concerns, we wish to state emphatically that, we are not to blame for the destruction of water bodies and the depletion of our forest cover as it has been miscommunicated to our disadvantage.
We have demonstrated enough commitment to fighting this canker and have pledged our unflinching support for the fight by setting up Anti-Illegal Mining Taskforces across the regions to clamp down on defiant “galamseyers” who operate with the infamous “Chang Fang” engines on our rivers.
There is demonstrable evidence to the inroads made so far, to which the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu has publicly commended us for.
We are also by this statement, drawing the attention of the Ghanaian public to some few basic facts about our operations and the benefits the nation derives thereof:
1. Close to 97% of all gold wedding rings and ornaments are derived from us.
2. We pay taxes to the government. (This goes to confirm that we are not illegal).
3. We have downsized the Rural-Urban migration. (Youth in our catchment areas prefer to earn a living in their own hometowns).
4. We contribute to the stabilisation of the Ghana Cedi against major foreign currencies. (Any wonder our currency has taken a nose dive ever since we were thrown out of business)?
5. Our corporate social responsibilities are testament to the development our catchment areas. (More kids have been sent back to school, more communities have been connected to the national grid and many more now have access to potable drinking water).
6. Small Scale Mining contributes an average of US$ 7 million every month to the economy of Ghana.
All the above are undisputed.
We wish to commend the role of the media in this whole crusade against illegal mining and its effects, but call on them to afford us a fair hearing and come to the grounds to acquaint themselves with the bare facts.
We wish to re-echoe our commitment to the fight against “galamsey”, and to the government, we say “3 months is enough; allow us to go back to work”.
Frank Osei (Regional Chairman)
Michael Kwadwo Peprah
cc: All media houses