The Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM) Africa-Network (ASMAN) wishes to call on political parties in the country especially those with the highest probability of winning political power (National Democratic Congress & the New Patriotic Party) to make the development and growth of the Small Scale Mining Sector an issue of priority in their Manifesto’s in the upcoming 2016 general elections.
We are making this call in the wake of our belief that not much commitment and attention seemed to have been given to the industry by current and previous governments, despite its enormous economic benefit to the nation.
It is therefore our view that putting in place specific clauses in the policy documents (Manifesto) of these political parties will give the sector players and stakeholders enough moral licenses to hold them to task and continuously use it as a benchmark to measure their real commitment to developing and improving the industry.
At the moment, Ghana’s ASM sector contributes 1.4 million ounces of gold representing 34% (more than a third of the country’s total annual gold output) and 100% total production for the diamond sector, yet the sector has not receive any substantial support from any government towards enhancing its development to produce more to increase revenue earnings in terms of foreign exchange as well as increase employment opportunities.
As a civil society organisation committed to the promotion and development of an environmentally friendly and responsible ASM industry, ASM Africa-Network (ASMAN) expects the major political parties to have policy statements on some of the industry concerns outlined below:
1. A progressive policy to reform and transform the ASM sector from its largely informal base to a formal one that will have at least 80-90% of the operators regularizing their activities in order to effectively monitor their activities. This will also increase government’s tax revenue, since those in the informal sector do not have any obligation to the state.
2. Environmental policy to manage and remedy the current environmental mess (abandoned pits, polluted water bodies and the massive deforestation) occasioned by the massive illegality perpetuated against this state by some illegal miners including foreigners.
3. A policy to adopt and promote a mercury free technology among ASM operators to safeguard the environment and human life as well as depict government’s commitment to the Minamata Convention which Ghana has become a signatory to since 2014.
4. A comprehensive policy to provide technical and financial support to ASM operators to increase productivity through efficient and best practices, as well as pay equal attention to other sectors of ASM such as Salt Mining, Sand weaning etc.
5. A policy to ensure the development of ASM entities into Medium Scale Mining companies which shall bring about partnerships between Ghanaians and foreign partners as part efforts at doing away with the cancer of illegal foreign workers in the industry
6. The appointment of a deputy Minister in-charge of ASM to superintend over the sector, or at best the creation of an Artisanal & Small Scale Mining Authority (ASMA) to give priority attention to the industry concerns as well as place the contribution of ASM mining at par with whatever large-scale mining is contributing. This will ensure that Ghana focuses and develops ASM policy that will be embedded into a broader rural development strategy to contribute towards Ghana’s poverty reduction efforts as called for by the Action plan of the Africa Mining Vision (AMV).
7. Beyond political party manifestos, ASMAN also wish to see the commitment of future governments (Political Parties) to include ASM issues into the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) annual policy priorities to give it that national dimension.
For further information, please contact Edward Kwasi Akuoko, Director of Policy & Research, ASM Africa-Network on 024-4660102 or e-mail: [email protected] or [email protected]
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