The Ghana Association of Small Scale Miners (GASSM) has accused the Minerals Commission of lack of transparency in allocating lands or mineral concession for mining.
According to GASSM, lands or concessions have become difficult to secure from the Minerals Commission as certain individuals are allocated the concession who in turn lease to the miners.
Their comments come at a time the Minerals Commission has began the process of registering small scale miners in the country and formally allocate minerals concessions to them as part of moves to restructure the sector.
Small scale miners were recently accused of using heavy equipment to destroy farm lands and the environment.
But speaking to Citi Business News, the General Secretary of the GASSM Godwin Amarh said the practice can be the reason for the increase in illegal mining which should not be blamed on the legitimate small scale miners who are doing legitimate business.
“What we are saying is that, lands that come are based on first come first serve bases at the commission but people who have good connection, political interference and all that is not making the commission work very independent in terms of allocation of lands”, he said.
He added that ‘others are issued lands and people who are not even miners are issued lands. So how then do those who are working at the mines get those lands to work on. You give land to speculators and they keep those lands there. So people will go in there and do illegal mining but if there is fairness, if there is transparency in the allocation so that those who deserve those lands get it, I think it will reduce illegal mining,” he added.
GASSM disclosed this at a round table discussion organized by Civil Society Organisation, Accra Mining Network on the theme, “Tabling the challenges and opportunities in the small scale mining and the ASM sector in Ghana.
Godwin Amarh who gave a presentation at the meeting on behalf of the GASSM called on the Minerals Commission to put to an end the practice.
“You know we have some areas that have been occupied by the large scale mining companies and the few that are left there also are being given to people with connections so you need to work through them or go through them to work on their lands and pay them when you sell your gold based on percentages. ” He stated.
By: Norvan Acquah-Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana