Some environmentalists are advocating the adoption of what they term a precision mining system to help promote responsible mining among small scale miners.

This system ensures only areas with enough gold to cover expenditure are opened for mining, contrary to the indiscriminate digging for gold.

The environmentalists are pushing for the signing of a bond as part of requirements for licensing small scale miners.

Precision mining system ensures areas with enough gold deposits, identified through geological investigation, are mined.

Under the traditional small-scale mining, miners dig concessions indiscriminately in search of gold, incurring huge losses.

Environmentalists advocate precision mining to protect environment

“If you dig everywhere for gold, how do you get money to reclaim all these areas. It is one of the reasons why there are a lot of mining degraded lands”, Deputy Executive Director for Operations at the Environmental Protection Agency, Ransford Sakyi explains the impact of the current system of mining.

Dean for the Faculty of Natural Resources at KNUST, Prof. Kyere Boateng, believes investments in precision mining will help promote responsible mining.

“If it is a technology working somewhere, we need to make efforts to get same technology here because it will reduce the cost involved in mining and also ensure that we don’t dig everywhere and that where there is no gold there is no point in digging. That will translate into less damage being done to the vegetation”, he said. 

Under the Environmental Assessment Regulations 1999, any undertaking in respect of which a reclamation plan is required to post a reclamation bond based on the approved work plan.

Large scale miners post bonds financially to serve as a surety to cover the cost of environmental damage at the site during or after the operations.

But the EPA is yet to subject small scale miners strictly to the requirement.

Small scale miners however believe signing up to the bond may adversely affect their operations.

The Oda District Chairman for Ghana National Association for Small Scale Mining, Mohammed Amao, says the bonding will be effective if miners are made to prospect the land for gold before rolling out the bonding.

The stakeholder dialogue was organized by Tropenbos Ghana under the NORAD-funded project: Securing Food and Ecosystem Services in Mining Plagued Regions of Ghana.

The national dialogue climaxes similar events from various districts where the project is being undertaken.

“We believe that the appropriate Ministry will accept the contributions gathered from this level so that it will help the country’s fight against illegal mining”, Kwame Appiah Owusu is Project Manager for Tropinbos.