Since the ban on artisanal and small-scale mining operations took effect two years ago, many are the miners who have been under pressure to settle debts they owe banks.
Government took that necessary step to curtail the unguided mining and illegal mining that had taken centre stage in the country. Not only were arable lands destroyed, but almost all rivers in the country were affected due to residue miners were dropping in the water bodies.
From struggling to pay their wards’ school fees to selling properties because of hunger, some of the small scale miners have disclosed how they and their families practically live on ‘peanuts’ to survive.
The President of the Concern Small Scale Miners has disclosed that the ban affected him to the extent that he could not cater for his family.
“Let me tell you, had it not been my wife I don’t know what would have happened to me,” Mr Michael Kwadwo Peprah told Kaakyire Kwesi Appea-Apreku on Power 97.9 FM’s Dwaboase.
Apparently, he had exhausted his savings and investments when he became jobless following the ban.
“My wife is the one taking care of me now” he noted as he recalled the hardship he has suffered after his investment into the mining business went bad.
Mr Peprah was reacting to a fresh promise made by government to lift the ban on their business, following tons of promises made within the last 12 months.
He said the Concern Small Scale Miners were happy about the announcement, especially as a timeline was given and hoped “they will not rescind the decision.”
He revealed that staying in the house for almost two years has caused some of the association members to sell their properties since banks were chasing them almost every day.
“Some of our members have died from frustration and the pressure it comes with,” he added.
The government indicated its readiness to lift the ban on artisanal and small-scale mining before the end of the year.
In preparation towards the lifting of the ban on artisanal and small-scale mining operations, the Lands Ministry is planning to roll-out the Multi-Sectoral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP).
Addressing the media during a ‘Meet the Press’ session in Accra, Land Minister, Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh, said the project will hinge on three main pillars: statutory enforcement, social interventions and technological adaptations.
In August this year, the government announced the roadmap for lifting the ban on artisanal and small-scale mining operations which has been in effect since April 1, 2017.