Prime News Ghana

Small scale miners appeal for refugee status in Ghana

By Kweku Antwi Jnr

A group that calls itself ‘Gold Coast Small Scale Miners (GCSSM)’ has appealed to all Diplomatic Missions in Ghana to consider the current predicament of small scale miners and offer them asylum opportunity as an immediate intervention to save their lives.

The group said the continuous extension of the ban on small scale mining, couple with the inconsistencies in the road map from the government, has rendered them hopeless with a bleak future.

The Akufo-Addo-led administration announced the ban on illegal mining activities in the country moment it assumed office in the early part of 2016.

To sustain the fight, a task force made up of police and military personnel, dubbed, ‘Operation Vanguard’ was formed and deployed to all illegal mining areas and communities in the country.

But President Akufo-Addo on June 18, 2018, assured that government will soon put out a statement setting out a comprehensive roadmap, including the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining.

The President said additionally, the road map will incorporate the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project; the implementation of alternative livelihood projects; systematic control of the engagement of excavators and changfans in mining areas; and continued formalization and regulation of the small-scale mining sector.

“When the ban is lifted, you will have a responsibility, as was successfully discharged in the days of our forefathers, to continue to help preserve our lands, water bodies and environment”, the President said.

Leader of the ‘Gold Coast Small Scale Miners’, Rooney Osei Bempah speaking to the media on their plights said, small scale miners in Ghana need life support policies to be able to move forward into the future due to the ban on small scale mining by the NPP government.

“Some of the challenges facing members of small scale mining are huge attracted interest on loans resulting in arrest and court actions, selling of equipment and properties at cheap price to make ends meet, creditors especially fuel station owners hunting and chasing them out of their homes and inability to shoulder domestic responsibilities making way for broken marriages and children school drop outs are all genuine reasons for such call on the diplomatic missions”, he explained.

Mr.Osei Bempah suggested creation of refugee camps just as it did for the Liberian Refugee Camp at Gomoa Buduburam in the Central Region where most of the members who find it difficult to provide even food could wake up every day and join the queue for their morning porridge and evening ration.

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