Minerals commission boss: Not all small-scale mining is illegal

Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday, Martin Ayisi said, "We have entities and persons who have been lawfully permitted under the mining laws of Ghana" to operate

Martin Ayisi, the CEO of the Minerals Commission, has said not all small-scale miners are operating illegally because his outfit has given licence to some to carry out mining activities.

Speaking on The Asaase Breakfast Show on Monday (17 October), he said, “We have entities and persons who have been lawfully permitted under the mining laws of Ghana, to carry out mining activities.”

“Those are the ones we go and inspect, monitor, and do audits regularly to ensure that they do the things properly. All is not perfect, occasionally there are a few challenges here and there,” Ayisi told the host Kwaku Nhyira-Addo

“The challenge has to do with those who decide that for whatever reason they will not come for some approval, authorisation or permit that will allow them to do it properly.

“And for that matter they think that the only place they can go and work is either the water bodies, some area that is ecologically sensitive etc,” he added.


According to him, “Those are the challenges, which the government is taking all necessary measures to deal with them.”

“So, we must separate the two. There’s a tendency to confuse those who have acquired the necessary permits and approvals to do small-scale mining with those who are doing it illegally.

“Again this year, the ministry will undertake a national award for small-scale miners. We are going to reward the best small-scale miner (male) and the best small-scale miner (female) and other categories. We need to make that distinction because in Ghana once you say galamsey it means small-scale miners,” Ayisi said.

Although Ghana requires permits to mine on a small scale, it is estimated that about 70% of small-scale miners are unregistered and operate illegally. They are known locally as galamsey, meaning to “gather and sell”.

While illegal mining supports livelihoods, it has caused severe damage to the environment. It is blamed for destruction of farmlands and pollution of water bodies. It also denies the state revenue: an estimated US$2.3 billion in 2016, reports The Conversation.

Watch the full interview below:

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