As part of measures by the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) to regularise and reform the activities of small scale miners, a training workshop on how to apply the Synthetic Aperture Radar Remote Sensing has opened in Accra.
Fourteen personnel from the Minerals Commission, Water Resources Commission, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Forestry Commission have been selected to participate in the three-day training programme aimed at building their capacity in the technological space.
In June 2018, the IMCIM signed an MOU with the Environmental Protection Pollution Monitoring Consortium from Switzerland to undertake an earth observation project that aims at reducing the negative effect of illegal mining in Ghana.
Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining and Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and innovations, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng said, the training will provide participants with hands-on and practical experience in remote sensing techniques for processing sentinel 1 SAR data and its application in the mining activities.
“It is very crucial for the nominated participants to have a good background in remote sensing and GIS. We are deploying all our resources including technology to fight the galamsey or illegal mining menace,” he added.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng disclosed that the equipment will enable operators to see through clouds and visualise objects below the cloud cover.
Already the Committee has deployed drones and introduced the “galamstop” app which coordinates activities of all stakeholders as part of a comprehensive policy framework to regularise small-scale mining across the country.
“We expect this training to boost their confidence and morale once they are well trained and they are able to deploy this technology to detect illegalities and fight it and see results. The galamsey fight is been fought to the highest level that is why we are providing these capacity training skills,” he said.
He added that “it is the expectation of the IMCIM that the first batch of beneficiaries after the training will also transfer their acquired skills to others especially those below them.”
Government imposed the ban on small-scale mining as part of a frontal attack on the activity in line with President Akufo-Addo’s promise to sanitise the sector at his inauguration as President.
The government, in December 2018, lifted the ban on small-scale mining after almost two years following the work of the IMCIM which successfully developed a comprehensive policy framework to regularise small-scale mining across the country.
Unregistered or illegal miners who were referred to as “galamseyers” have been organised into community mining cooperatives and provided with concessions to work legitimately under the supervision of the district committees.
Prof. Frimpong Boateng said measures to check proper mining activities to protect our environment are on course despite a few challenges, which are been rectified.