Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources on Wednesday said the government is determined to make the Community Mining Scheme (CMS) the model of small-scale mining.
He added that the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources was working not to limit the idea to the country but also across the continent, with the government not stopping short of anything to achieve the goal.
He said in accomplishing the set goal, the Ministry through the Minerals Commission was investing in the mercury-free ore processing equipment, known as “the Gold Katcha” where 100 of them had been procured for CMS across the country.
“Mr Speaker, in 2021, we revamped the Community Mining Scheme, and we have since reformed and clarified the legal, policy and operational framework of the scheme, to provide a clear pathway for responsible and sustainable small-scale mining with community ownership,” he told Parliament.
Mr Jinapor made the announcements when he appeared before Parliament to answer a question by Mr Elvis Morris Donkoh, Member of Parliament for Abura Asebu Kwamankese.
The member asked if the Ministry had any operational guidelines to deal with the CMS.
Mr Jinapor noted that working with the Minerals Commission, the Ministry had developed an Operational Manual, that had set standards and guidelines which all CMS must meet and or comply with.
“Mr Speaker, the Small Scale and Community Mining Operational Manual was launched by my supportive Deputy Minister and Member of Parliament for Tarkwa-Nsuaem Constituency, Hon. George Mireku Duker on Friday, 5th November 2021 at Tarkwa in the Western Region.
The overall objective of the 32 pages Operational Manual is to ensure that Community Mining Schemes operate in a safe and healthy environment and that their operations are sustainable and environmentally sound.
“Mr Speaker, it explains in simple terms, the policy objective of the Community Mining Scheme, the requirements and procedures for acquiring a licence to operate a community mining scheme or mine support services, the responsibilities of license holders and the community Mining Scheme Oversight Committees, and a code of practice for Small Scale and Community Mining Schemes, which sets health, safety, environmental and operational standards for all Small Scale and Community Mining Schemes,” he said.
He mentioned a general office, a mini-clinic or first aid post, washrooms, changing rooms, storage facilities for hazardous materials, potable water storage facility, and ore processing area, with a mercury-free ore processing equipment among the requirements all CMS needed to have.
Mr Jinapor said steps have been taken to educate community members on the operational manual. He also noted that so far 150 CMS had been built and the ministry hoped to build more by 2022 adding that out of the 100 procured “Gold Katcha”, 20 had so far been installed.
CMS was rolled out by the government of President Akufo-Addo in 2019, as a substitute for illegal small-scale mining.
It is intended to provide members of the community with the opportunity to engage in responsible viable, sustainable, and environmentally-sound mining for the benefit of the community.
In 2020, 20 CMS were commissioned in fourteen mining districts across the country.