The fight against illegal mining continues as government and other stakeholders continue to implement policies that will encourage artisanal miners to go about their duties the right way.

In light of this, Goldridge Ghana Limited and the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) have signed an agreement that will give the mining sector a major facelift and attract more illegal miners to jump ships.

The agreement will see one of the leading gold exporters in the country, Goldridge Ghana  Limited providing GNASSM and its members logistical support in order to formalize their activities and adopt internationally recognised responsible mining practices.

Left- Chairman for Goldridge , Dr. Sledge Nana Yaw Duodu Right- President of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners, Mr. Philip Kwasi Akufo

The goal of providing the equipment is to help the miners operate in an environmentally-friendly way while increasing their productivity and production volumes. 

GNASSM members who decide to take advantage of the Program under the Agreement will have access to finances from Goldridge and in return, channel their gold to the Goldridge refinery.

Goldridge will then export the refined gold to legal international markets.

Speaking at a short ceremony in Accra for the signing of the agreement, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Goldridge Ghana Limited, Dr Sledge Nana Yaw Duodu expressed his excitement over the consensus reached by the two bodies to work hand in hand to improve the mining sector and its upstream to the global market.

He said one of the reasons why he setup Goldridge was to promote Ghana as the leading producer of gold in Africa and is excited that finally such an agreement has been signed to give the sector a major facelift that will be beneficial to all stakeholders.

“All Ghana gold miners deserve to be recognized and receive fair pay. I have made it Goldridge’s mission to unlock the full value of our gold sector through driving formalization of mining operations, responsible practices, propelling in-country refining and accessing global markets.

The signing of this agreement paves the way to the realization of this important transformation.

Together with GNASSM, we have set up the perfect partnership where the Association brings the miners and Goldridge brings the means to set up the entire value chain,”Dr. Sledge Duodu said.

He further indicated that the small scale mining sector in Ghana produces about 50 tonnes of gold every year and since Ghana is a number one producer of gold on the continent, Ghana needs to be internationally recognized as a gold hub.

“It has always been my vision to partner and uplift the small scale miners. We have setup an office in Dubai which is a wholly owned Ghanaian business with the goal of showcasing the small scale miners and also build a bullion trade between Ghana, Dubai and other countries.

Underpinning the Agreement and the Program is a traceability and due diligence system from mine site to global market that the partners are developing according to international standards, and with which the miners and Goldridge will have to comply.

Each and every single one of the Program’s components is crucial to its success: formalization; responsible mining practices; due diligence; traceability; in-country refining; and export to global markets, all up to internationally recognized standards.

 If one component is missing or not up to standard, the value chain cannot be recognized internationally and fails. When it all works, it will fully benefit gold miners and their communities.

Small-Scale Gold Mining will become a significant contributor to Ghana’s socioeconomic development, and the country will reap the full value of its precious resources,”Dr. Sledge Duodu explained.

Gold refinery in Accra

Dr. Sledge Duodu further stated that his company has began the construction of a gold refinery in Accra which is expected to be completed middle of next year.

Upon completion, Dr Sledge said the gold refinery will be able to refine up to 1000kg of gold everyday.

“Goldridge is taking a lead role in Ghana’s transition from raw gold producer to refined gold producer. This is a key component for the country to fully benefit from its precious resources.

“We have started building a refinery in East Legon which is expected to be completed middle of next year. It is a 500kg per eight hours shift meaning if we run two shifts, we can refine 1000kg everyday.

Ghana’s total output  is about 150 tonnes out of this, 50 tonnes is produced by the  small scale miners. This refinery is not being built to refine only the gold from small scale miners but also large scale miners in the country and also West Africa,” he explained.

GNASSM

President of GNASSM, Philip Kwasi Akufo explained what signing the agreement meant to the Association and its members considering how eager they all are to improve their mining practices.

According to him, Ghana has a population of hard-working and highly-skilled miners indicating that GNASSM’s membership comprises close to 2,000 mining operations, involving an estimated 1.8million individual miners in total.

Mr. Akufo said all small scale miners are willing to further improve their practices so they can access international markets under fair conditions, improve their working conditions and livelihood since they lack access to training, equipment and finance.

 “GNASSM is thrilled to partner with Goldridge. Dr Sledge is highly respected by miners, governments and Ghanaian institutions. He brings leadership, the vision to transform the sector and has the means to make it happen.

“Already many non-members are looking to join the Association to enrol in the Program. This is going to be transformational,” Mr. Akufo said.

General secretary of GNASSM, Mr.Godwin Armah also explained how the agreement will improve the fight against galamsey.

According to him, one of the Association’s mission is to ensure that mining is done in a more sustainable way and to ensure that illegal miners are attracted to do the right thing in terms of mining and that is exactly what the agreement is targeted at.

“The agreement is about Gold Ridge supplying Small Scale Miners with the requisite technology and equipments that we need to use to recover our gold and ensure that the environment is intact,”he stated.

He said the agreement will also see to it that the small scale miners can track their gold upstream.

Mr. Armah said the agreement has been in the pipeline for a long time and is excited that the two bodies have finally agreed to work together for the benefit of the country and other stakeholders including the Jewelry Association.

“We are happy to sign this agreement. This is something we have deliberated on with Goldridge for a very long time and we want to add value to gold so that our jewelry industry will get the pure carat that they want in order to meet international standards.

Jewellers Association of Ghana

President of the Jewellers Association of Ghana, Yaw Duah said the Association will take advantage of the agreement to produce quality Jewelries that will establish Ghana as a producer of quality gold.

“We are looking forward to take advantage of whatever will come out of the agreement between Goldridge and GNASSM. Ours is more like what makes the industry flourish and what we produce is what gets the international market to know we have quality gold in this country.

So we are truly excited about this. We think this will help us and strengthen the entire industry.