The Minerals Commission says it has initiated interventions to control and minimize the use and exposure to mercury in the Small Scale Mining (SSM) industry.
The commission said it had collaborated with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa to develop the “SikaBukyia” model as an alternative method for extraction of gold instead of mercury.
It is expected that the patronage of the technology by small scale miners would go a long way to help the country achieve its objectives of phasing out mercury use in the SSM sub-sector.
The Chairman of the Minerals Commission, Samuel KwakuBoafo revealed this at the maiden edition of Ghana Gold Expo 2020 organized in Takoradi.
The Ghana Gold Expo 2020 was a three-day historic event which sought to showcase Ghana’s source of gold, trade and refinery technologies as well as investment opportunities in the gold industry.
The Gold Expo, organized in collaboration with “Aurum Monaco” a France-based gold refinery, sought to discourage the use of mercury in gold production and the promotion of best standards practice in the industry.
Speaking on the topic, “The Role of Minerals Commission in Phasing out Mercury and Establishment of Community Mining Scheme”, Mr Boafo said awareness creation on dangers associated with the use of mercury for gold extraction was important for the commission.
He said extensive training programmes to educate small scale miners to adopt improved and sustainable technologies for gold recovery, featured prominently in the annual programmes of the commission.
He explained that the Community Mining Scheme was a novel mining model developed by the Minerals Commission and other stakeholders to address some of the underlying factors for illegal mining also called ‘galamsey’.
“Akin to SSM, community mining is a preserve of only Ghanaians and no foreigner is allowed to participate. The initiative will help in addressing one of the major push for illegal mining which is unavailability of land for small scale mining,” he said.
He added that the Community Mining scheme would also create opportunities for residents in the various mining communities with the aim of boosting local economies and improving the welfare of local residents.
He said to ensure the successful implementation of the community mining model some key strategies had been adopted including the formation of a Community Mining Oversight Committee.
He also mentioned the adoption of SSM code of practice and the provision of training and support services to the community miners.