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3,000 small-scale mining groups registered -Minerals Commission reveals

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The country has presently 3,000 registered small-scale mining groups, according to data from the Minerals Commission.

Small-scale mining of precious minerals continues to make significant contributions to the country’s foreign exchange earnings. 

Available data from the Minerals Commission notes that “Currently, there are over 3,000 registered small-scale mining groups and 90 Mine Support service companies. In fact, all diamond production is now from small-scale mining.”

The government launched the Small Scale and Community Mining Scheme to provide a controlled mining regime in the Artisanal Small Scale Mining Industry to stop illegal mining. 

The initiative, which is exclusive to Ghanaians, is presently being implemented in all of the country’s mining regions. The plan is intended as a direct response to the country’s long-standing problem of wanton destruction caused by illegal mining.

Attempts have been made to rein in the unacceptable behaviour of small-scale miners, especially the illegal ones, popularly known as “galamsey” without much success.  It is in this context that the government through the Minerals Commission launched the ‘Operational Manual” to bring form and structure to the community mining concept and prevent a relapse of the activity into galamsey, thereby eliminating the negative aspects of the small-scale mining subsector in Ghana.

The government in the 2024 budget revealed plans to invest about US$100 million in the small-scale gold mining sector in the next five years.

Already, the government through the Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) has developed an investment programme to support the small-scale gold mining sector to unearth its full potential under the Small scale Mining Incubation Programme (SSMIP).

The incubation programme is an equity investment in the form of capital support, mining equipment supply, gold traceability mechanisms, imbuing beneficiary firms with proper corporate governance principles, and exacting responsible mining methods to forestall environmental degradation. The incubation program aims to provide a ready offtake market for beneficiary firms.”

The objective of the programme is to develop licensed Small-scale mines into Ghanaian mid-tier gold mining companies, which would lead to the formalisation of the sector with the attendant impact of eliminating the incidence and practice of illegal mining. 

In addition, this programme plans to move beneficiary companies from their artisanal status to high-performing junior mines listed on the Ghana stock market as tradeable assets. 

The government also plans to streamline the community mining scheme to enhance its viability and sustainability by undertaking confirmatory geological investigation on new prospective mining sites; procuring additional higher efficiency mercury-free gold extraction equipment, along with favourable credit terms for the miners; and strengthening the capacity of the Minerals Commission, to among others, improve its management of the small scale mining sector.

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