Ghana risks a boycott of its gold by major refineries across the globe if it fails to tackle illegal mining activities in the short term.
This is the caution from industry players.
According to them, the country also risks huge revenue losses from small scale mining which accounts for about thirty percent of the total gold output.
“We risk losing our market not for the large scale but for our small scale mining if we do not follow the rules of the game in whatever we are doing now otherwise their gold will not be bought,”
“These days the refineries are actually looking at the source of the gold they buy; they wanted to be sure if the gold they are buying is not produced by children or produced with a chemical that are not acceptable and indeed if they were produced in a sustainable and ethical way,” the CEO of the Minerals Commission, Dr. Toni Aubynn told Citi Business News.
Several attempts by successive governments in addressing illegal mining have yielded little as the canker has led to the destruction of major water bodies and forests in places the activities are rife.
The continuous stay of illegal miners at Anglogold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine has led to many altercations between the illegal miners and security officials.
This also led to the death of a Senior Manager of Anglogold Ashanti, John Owusu.
Presently, the company has temporary halted its operations at the Obuasi mine.
Already, some refineries have hinted of their planned boycott to the Minerals Commission.
Dr. Aubynn however explains to Citi Business News his outfit is pushing hard not to extend the threat to legitimate businesses.
He added that the glaring impact of the boycott makes interim curative measures indispensable.
“Some refineries have come to see me to discuss and we have had to explain to them that there are two categories of these producers; those who are legal and illegal. The former do their business according to the law but the latter are the ones that need to be followed.”
Govt launches multi-lateral integrated mining project
Meanwhile government has launched a new project aimed at curbing illegal mining activities in the country at least within the next five years.
The project among others seeks to regulate the activities of the illicit miners or galamsey operators by allowing them access to mining sites, moving equipment, among others.
Speaking at the first stakeholders meeting on the multi-lateral mining integrated project, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu told Citi Business News the plan should bring sanity in the mining industry.
“Another difficulty is the inability of the small scale miners to make their activities bankable… if the illicit miners are given the conditions such as explored fields to give them reliable sites to mine, plus plant pool from which they will be able to get equipment and pay back subsequently, they will gradually move away from all the areas that they are currently working which is destroying the environment,” he said.
By: Pius Amihere Eduku/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana