Small-scale miners could soon be going back to their business as the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources increase efforts to streamline their operations.
That is the assurance by the chairman of Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Natural Resources, Francis Manu-Adabor.
A meeting of members of the committee and the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources to discuss a possible timetable for the return of miners has been scheduled for March.
Mr Manu-Adabor told Nhyira FM that small-scale miners will have to return to business after completing a training program.
“It’s a source of income for so many people so it is not easy to let people go and sit in the house without a job. That is why they go back anytime we go and sack them. So the small-scale mining will have to come back,” Mr Manu-Adabor revealed.
It has been nearly ten months since the government imposed an indefinite ban on illegal and small-scale mining activities.
Through the Ministerial Small-Scale Office, the government has been running artisanal training on sustainable mining at University of Mines and Technology in Tarkwa.
An effort is also underway to provide alternative livelihood ventures for illegal miners who have been displaced by the ban.
Mr Manu-Adabor who is Member of Parliament for Ahafo Ano South East in Ashanti Region said he highly anticipates the lifting of the ban soon.
Asked exactly when the small-scale miners will be allowed to operate, Mr Manu-Adabor replied it could be soon, giving the strongest indication of their early return will depend on the meeting between Parliament’s Select Committee on Lands and Natural resources and sector ministry.
“We are going to hold a meeting with the minister [Lands] and then the minister of Environment too. So very soon I think we will get the time and then let it come out,” he said.
“I cannot give you date now but I know it would not be too far from now,” he continued.
Meanwhile, Mr Manu-Adabor has lauded a reclamation exercise being undertaken by the Forestry Commission.
At least, eight companies have been awarded a 12-month contract to reclaim forest reserves affected by illegal mining operations.
One of them is the Apamprama Forest where 25-acres of the mined forest is being reclaimed.
“Today that I have gone to see the reclamation of the land, I am very, very impressed and I’m very happy. I hope Ghanaians will understand it is very expensive,” he said.
Mr Manu-Adabor admits a lot will go into the restoration of degraded land.
“The soil that we see there is full of cyanide. There are some practices we need to go through. We have to plant some special trees, we have to put in beans and other things just to put some nitrogen into the soil. It is not an easy exercise,” he said.