The Ghana Mining Week, has opened in Takoradi to create a platform to dialogue on alternatives to end the application of deadly chemicals in mining in accordance with the Minamata Convention on mercury and, gold traceability.
The mining week coded; “Gold Expo”, is a mining policy platform initiated by Viewtag-Ghana and organised by the Western Regional Coordinating Council
Activities for the event included a mining policy forum, diplomatic mining field trip, launching of mercury free plant by Popo Cee, and recognising Ghana’s responsible Gold mining.
Mr. Steven Ackah, lead for Viewtag- Ghana Gold Expo, a policy advocacy body focused mainly on the promotion of zero mercury and responsible mining said participants would be exposed to new technologies and innovations in the gold mining industry, connect and network with over 500 attendees from 35 countries, including government officials and stakeholders in the mining value chain.
Mr. Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Western Regional Minster noted that the laws of Ghana allowed Ghanaians to mine gold profitably and in a socially responsible manner.
He said, “ It is a common knowledge that in many countries across Africa, Artisanal and Small Scale (Gold) Mining (ASGM) is a livelihood and also plays a socio-cultural role.”
This the Minister said was attested to by the several gold, diamonds and silver ornaments that were displayed at various social ceremonies.
In Ghana, it is estimated that about 1.5 million people are directly engaged in small scale mining, while a significant proportion of the population indirectly also depended on the gold trade to make a living.
Mr. Darko-Mensah, said, in spite of their economic importance, small-scale mining activities sometimes involved illegal and irresponsible practices that had dire health and safety consequences for the operators and the operational communities.
This, he, explained, was due to the employment of sub-standard operations in mining and processing the target minerals.
He added that the creation of a Ghana Gold Brand would help give national, regional and international visibility to Ghana’s first mineral and improve its profile on the international economic scene as a country committed to sustainable and responsible exploitation of its natural resources.
He revealed that as part of an agenda-setting move, discussions began at the 2020 Ghana Gold Expo Event to advance policies to govern activities along the gold value chain in Ghana.
He added that the overall objective of the Ghana Gold Expo 2020 was to promote “Zero Mercury” in gold extraction and ensure responsible gold mining practices among all industry players.
Mr. Okyere Darko-Mensah said in terms of retooling the sector, plans were far advanced to start manufacturing components in Ghana, at Anwiankwanta, a town in the Bekwai Municipality in the Ashanti Region for efficient operations”.
The Minister also called on the Bank of Ghana to believe in Ghanaian refineries and give them a hands-up in their quest to get all the necessary certification to allow them to add value to the gold ore.