Wa — The Upper West Region chapter of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) has asked government to assign to them six concessions in the region to enable them re-commence their operations.
They include JirapaDuori in the Jirapa Municipality; Tokpo in the Nadowli-Kaleo District; Duu in the Wa East District; Tangasie-Chirekpong in the Nadowli-Kaleo District; Danyaokura, in the Wa East District, and Nyagli in the Wa Municipality.
Abdul-Wahab Jamal Sessay, General Secretary of the Chapter, said the concessions, they believed, were high grade areas which would make them productive in their operations.
He said despite receiving training on small-scale mining, members of the Association were still struggling to acquire the needed licences to engage in mining, a situation which could promote illegal mining.
He was speaking at Wa in the Upper West region yesterday when the Association held a meeting with the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abdulai Jinapor.
The meeting formed part of the Minister's week-long tour of the five regions in the northern parts of the country.
The Association, Mr Sessay said, was challenged with the closure of its operational areas, resulting in many youth becoming unemployed.
He said the situation had hampered economic and social activities in the region saying that "times are hard and we do not want further hardship beyond where we stand at the moment."
He noted that the group would institute a system to ensure that production of gold would be monitored, channel at-least not less than 50 per cent through the Precious Mineral Marketing Company (PMMC) by the opening of their offices or buying agencies at all the points.
"We have also planned to ensure an effective and efficient tax system at all the areas. We are ready to comply with all important and necessary rules and norms by Government
We also have plans to put in place to promote safety and ensure peace and tranquility at all the areas," Mr Sessay added.
Mr Jinapor asked Small-Scale Miners to engage in regular peer regulation to help bring sanity in the sector.
He explained that "by peer regulation what I mean is that you regulate one another. When someone is doing the wrong thing, you draw the person's attention and call the person to order."
He said the Minerals Commission would, within two weeks, engage the leadership of the Association to find amicable resolutions to their concerns.
The Minister further called for stronger ties among members of the association and courted their cooperation and support for the development of the mining industry in the region.