A Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker, has dismissed fears of members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) that the government has banned their activities.

He has, therefore, asked members of the Association to return to work and mine responsibly.

Speaking at a meeting with the Association on Thursday in Kumasi, the Deputy Minister reiterated President Akufo-Addo’s love for mining, adding that “mining supports Ghana’s economy hence, the government has not and will not ban mining in the country.”

He said the government expected the legal small-scale miners to engage in responsible and sustainable mining, saying that “your mining activities should match your licences acquired.”

The government, however, Mr Duker said would not condone irresponsible mining.

The Ministry, he said, would soon set up a task force to monitor the operations of miners across the country, stressing that “we want you to do the right things, drop your old self and take on your new clothes in mining.”

Responding to questions on the community mining scheme, the Deputy Minister, said the government would engage the Association on the scheme to ensure inclusiveness at all levels of mining operations.

On Operation Halt, he said the Military was assigned a specific task to protect water bodies and forest reserves and advised members of the Association to display their addresses in their respective concessions to prevent unwarranted encounters with the Military task force.

The Deputy Minister also announced a yearly Award scheme for the best Small-Scale mining concessions, an initiative which will begin this year to demonstrate best practices and encourage other miners to emulate.

The Vice President of the Association, Sampson Kofi Wiredu, expressed worry about the activities of some soldiers engaged in the Operations Halt, saying miners were losing their investment as a result.

He noted that the assurances of the Deputy Minister had given the Association the renewed interest and confidence in the government and the Sector Minister to safeguard legitimate miners.

The Members of the Association pledged their commitment to support government win the fight against illegal mining.

The members were drawn from the various mining districts including Wa, Tarkwa, BIbiani, Dunkwa -on- Offin and Akim Oda.