Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has said it is considering submitting a comprehensive policy on the use of mercury by small-scale miners to parliament for consideration.

The Acting Executive Director of Agency, John Pwamang, said they are working hard to forward an amendment on the law to parliament by the first quarter of 2019.

“We will work with the technical agencies to come up with the areas that we think we need to do an amendment. Then will go through the Attorney General to help us to fine-tune it and finally it will go to Cabinet.

"If Cabinet gives its approval then we submit it to Parliament for the processes to go through for the amendment,” he said told Joy Business JoyBusiness at the launch of the Minamata Initial Assessment report by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Accra.

He added, “the cycle is such that this report that we have completed and submitted to government; the whole process is now ready to start. We are looking at doing all the preparatory work so that by the last quarter of the year, starting from October, these things can be ready to be submitted to them for consideration.”  

Currently, the law regulating mercury management in the country dates as far back as 1989 under the Ministry of Trade which only constitutes the use and importation of mercury in small-scale mining.

Meanwhile, there also exists a minerals and mining law which makes provision for small-scale miners to buy and use mercury for their operations – a situation that the Minamata Initial Report has revealed as inconsistent considering its associated health hazards.

Mr Pwamang has, however, indicated that government should consider mercury management as it seeks to lift the ban on small-scale mining. He said it is important to make mercury less available for their use.

The initial assessment was instituted by the Global Environment Facility to enable parties of the Minamata Convention, including Ghana, to determine the national requirements and needs for the ratification of the convention.

The UNDP’s “Development of Minamata Initial Assessment for Ghana Project” was commissioned last year.