A former Chief Executive of the Minerals Commission and the Chamber of Mines, Dr. Tony Aubyn, says government made a big mistake by stopping all small scale mining activities.

Government as part of measures to stop the pollution of the environment, especially water bodies by illegal mining activities, popularly called ‘galamsey’ temporarily banned small scale mining activities.

But Dr. Tony Aubyn said government could have adopted a better approach since the small scale miners were undertaking responsible mining and contributing significantly to gold production in the country vis-à-vis tax revenue contribution.

Small scale miners constitute about 30 percent of players in the mining industry.

Dr. Aubyn told Joy Business government could have thought through before taking that action.

He believes it was a rush decision though he acknowledges the concerns raised regarding the water pollution in some areas in the Western region, and the cost to the Ghana Water Company in treating water.

“So I think that there were some concerns, significant concerns about the impact of mining and of course the influx of Chinese into our system. So, I think that raised an alarmist concern.”

Notwithstanding that, he holds the view that government implemented the decision in a rush to deal with the illegal mining.

“But I think we shouldn’t have rushed into it. Iit’s like a madman coming to you in the bathroom, taking your towel and you run towards him to collect your towel, you know…you go with everything out. That’s a mistake I believe shouldn’t have happened especially because in 2013 there was an attempt by the then government to use force to stop illegal mining,” he said.

The issue of the ban on small scale mining and ‘galamsey’ have taken center stage in this year’s electioneering campaign.