The Executive Vice President and Head of Gold Fields West Africa, Alfred Baku has argued that the current regime of community mining program is no different from the ‘cancerous’ illegal mining [popularly referred to as galamsey] activities that had wreak havoc in the country’s natural environment.
Mr. Baku laments the lack of clarity in the operations of the community mining enterprise has left the small scale mining sector in a state akin to what the illegal mining activities cause the country.
Delivering his address at the 8th annual ALUMaT lecture of the University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa, on the theme; “Investment in mining and future prospects- the role of UMaT”, Mr. Baku disclosed that the mixup poses a great challenge to the mining industry and that it is critical for industry players and government to address it urgently.
“There is no clear distinction between community mining and illegal mining. And so we have all of the mixed up and that is a challenge.”
Revisit The Military Operations To Fight Illegal Mining
The withdrawal of the military/operation vanguard from the ‘galamsey infested’ communities has resulted in a relapse in the restoration of the natural environment which had suffered years of pollution. This was a strong position of Mr. Alfred Baku, as he shared cases of intrusion of legal concession of mining firms, and further degradation of the environment by ‘recalcitrant’ illegal miners.
He suggested that the government revisits the use of military personnel to fight the galamsey menace.
“When the illegal miners say the uniform that alone scared them, as compared to the police.
“I believe that we have to revisit the military if not the same numbers at least some limited numbers to augment the mine’s security and the police,” he justified.
Technical Support and Capacity Building
Given the growing interest in community mining program and the associated risks of reverting to ‘illegal mining activities’, a call has been made to get the Ghana Chamber of Mines and industry players to enhance their technical support for players in the small-scale mining sector.
Mr. Baku in a response to a questioned posed to him on how best Gold Fields and interested partners could champion such an agenda, admitted that such an arrangement could drive the change so much desired.
“It is something we continue to do,” he noted, whiles assuring of getting industry players to review their supports scheme in light of current developments in the small-scale mining sector.
He stressed the need for UMaT to lead the transformative agenda by offering advanced studies, research, and innovation in the mining sector, to support the government and industry players maximize the gains in the country’s mineral deposits.