The General Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM), Godwin Armah has indicated that the Alternative employment and livelihood programs for affected illegal miners should be carried out properly.
He stated that although the initiative is a good idea, it has not been effective in previous times because it has not been carried out properly.
“So, for those who have been affected,;it is a right thing to do for government to find an alternative livelihood and support programs for them. But one of the things we have realized in the past why these alternative livelihood support,;the ALS, haven’t worked is because it is not properly done. They are not true alternatives to mining for those who are engaged in it.
“So, we need to look at the community mining scheme;and do it properly so that these guys who are not in the mainstream,;we can mainstream them into the community mining where the Association,;Minerals Commission and government will come together and ensure that we implement the manual in terms of managing those areas for community mining. So that they can absorb those who have been affected by the activities of Operation Halt and all that.”Godwin Armah
He said, if this is done, it will give the affected miners an alternative in the same field which is mainly mainstream. Additionally, he stated that it will also ensure proper mining which wouldn’t destroy the environment if they are properly monitored.
Target unemployed for ALP
Mr. Godwin Armah further called for government to target unemployed persons coming into the mining sector and ensure they are put in the non-mining aspect of the alternative livelihood program.
“Those are the people you can take to other ventures like farming, grasscutter rearing and all those things. Those are the people you target. You catch them before they get into the mining adventure. So, in the communities this issue of training should be targeted at the youth so that they can offer services to the mines.”Godwin Armah
He therefore indicated that the GNASSM is prepared to work with government in implementing such a project.
“When you look at the program government is championing,;there are targets, there are outcomes government wants in real life but government cannot do it alone. It needs to work together with the stakeholders involved to ensure that it comes to proper fruition;and that is where the association and other stakeholders like community leaders come in. So, we need to do a lot of sensitization,;capacity building and all that.”Godwin Armah
‘Galamsey’ fight approach, unconventional
Giving his assessment on the fight against ‘galamsey’ so far, Mr. Armah intimated that the approach towards the fight has been unconventional. He explained that the guidelines given during the stakeholders’ engagement has not been adhered to.
“In the short term, the approach has been unconventional. Like the burning of excavators which we have stated on every platform that, that’s not the way to go because it’s not the right thing to do. If you look at the laws that we’ve stated, the amendment that was made, it has given clear definition of how these operations are done or people engaged in mining and all that.”Godwin Armah
He further indicated that the association will look at Community Enforcement Approach which will at the community level, have the small-scale miners, opinion leaders and the chiefs form a group or a committee to regulate mining in these communities.
“The minerals commission will let them know which companies are working in these communities so that, the people who come in and don’t have the requisite license and are not part of that area will not be allowed to engage [in] that community[mining]. I think when that is done, that approach will help us reduce illegal mining and then to sustain it.”Godwin Armah