The Minerals Commission will soon introduce electronic monitoring of small-scale mining operations.
Speaking during the University of Mines and Technology’s (UMaT) sixth biennial international minerals and mining conference held at Tarkwa in the Western Region, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Addae Antwi-Boadiako, said this would be done using satellite imagery, drones, and tracking of excavators.
He said the Commission would also offer online mining cadaster licensing system for small-scale miners.
“These innovations are under consideration for implementation to address challenges in the small-scale mining industry,” the CEO announced.
Mr. Antwi-Boadiako said improving mining and processing technology that was concurrent with reclamation during mining and elimination of mercury in the processing of the gold ores using the direct smelting technology (Sika bukyia) would also be considered.
He indicated that in Ghana the small-scale mining sector was a significant contributor to the local economy and urban-rural livelihood.
Mr. Antwi-Boadiako noted that the sub-sector in recent times produced a third of Ghana’s gold, which was over one million ounces of gold annually.
Unfortunately, the small-scale mining operations were characterized by illegality, social conflicts and adverse health and safety issues; the CEO pointed out.
“Management of artisanal and small-scale mining has become a complex issue causing immense environmental degradation especially pollution of water bodies and indiscriminate use of cyanide and mercury in the production process.”
On environmental stewardship, he explained that mining had negative impacts, but it could be minimized when factored into the mine planning and development process from the onset.
The CEO added that the unsustainable resource use can cause serious damage to the environment and contribute to greenhouse effect and climate change.
“The use of materials has recently become a key in sustainability policies internationally, with the introduction of the 3R (reduce, reuse, recycle) initiative,” he mentioned.