15 February 2012

Ghana: Illegal Mining - REMWOF Wants Government to Be Less Harsh

The Retired Mine Workers Foundation (REMWOF) has called on the government to bring the "radical chase" of illegal miners to a halt.

They said challenges such as the persistent use of the military, police and other security agencies to harass small scale miners as well as the apparent reluctance on the part of the authorities to persuade mining companies to surrender rich narrow veins to small- scale miners further make it difficult to get illegal miners to come to terms with legalizing their operations.

In a press statement, REMWOF, said it believed that the government must target well organized groups such as REMWOF which is in the process of organizing small-scale miners in certain parts of the Eastern Region where multinational companies have released part of their concessions for small-scale mining to help organize the youth in illegal mining to come together and form small-scale mining operations with the certified accreditation to carry out their business.

This they said would go a long way to encourage more people to legalize their business.

They are also of the view that the government must facilitate direct negotiations between the well-organized small-scale and medium groups and large-scale mining companies for the latter to cede those parts of their concessions that are amenable to small-scale mining groups for mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

The statement said They are of the "strong belief" that the new approach for the development of small-scale mining will allow the exploitation of gold deposits located in the three northern regions which have the potential for employing millions of the unemployed youth who migrate to Accra in search of non-existing jobs.

The statement said REMWOF and NYEP must collaborate to establish a small-scale industrial complex with branches in the mining regions as a training centre for value addition and other mining related skills and services.

The complex will not only create jobs, it will also produce mining engineers, geologists, chemists, mining management personnel and even jewelers.

"We Believe that if these measures can be implemented; the exportation of our raw gold which is priced by western capitalist monopolies will be drastically reduced. It will also make the government of the day to reformulate its policy regarding our precious minerals," said REMWOF

REMWOF is therefore appealing to the Mills Administration to revisit the 1995 "Ghana Project Implementation Plan Mining Sector Development and Environment Project" to enable the government understand the positions, concerns and activities of REMWOF better and create a better mining environment for the youth of the country.

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