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ASMAN Supports Freeze Of Concessions But Disagrees With Using Military To Fight Galamsey
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The Artisanal & Small Scale Mining Africa-Network (ASMAN) has hailed the intent of Government to put a freeze on the issuance of prospecting licenses to new applicants to mine minerals in the country.

The moratorium, which according to the CEO of Minerals Commission Dr. Tony Aubynn, would last for ninety days, is to enable the regulatory body to clean up the existing list and to make available idle concessions for prospective and potential investors.

Reacting to the statement, Executive Director of ASMAN, Nii Adjetey Kofi-Mensah described the announcement as long overdue, adding that many people are holding on to hundreds of acres of mineral lands without any attempt, effort or capacity to tilt the land and denying potential investors of such concessions thus promoting galamsey.

The Artisanal & Small Scale Mining Africa- Network is therefore calling for not just a freeze on the issuance of new licenses but a thorough audit of all license holders to ensure sanity in the ASM sector.

However on the issue of using militarization to fight illegal mining popularly called galamsey, ASMAN wish to state emphatically that it is disappointed with Dr. Aubynn’s assertion that it is the best way to fight the menace, adding that galamsey is more of an economic and livelihood issue which cannot be fought with the use of brute force.

“In our opinion, Government must remember its promise to the youth who are doing these same galamsey in the mining communities, and the diplomatic manner in which it promised to regularize their operations to give them livelihood in exchange for their mandate, and stop using state security to assault and violate their just right to livelihood”
ASMAN further wish to challenge Government to enumerate the successes chalked so far as it continues to fight the menace with brute force!

Instead we are witnessing more mine pits been dug on daily basis (leading to the President’s description of Kyebi as a galamsey headquarters) and abandoned afterwards; more river and water sources been polluted with mercury and of late cyanide than ever in the country’s history, and affecting Ghana's economy, a drastic fall in the ASM gold production output for the period of the inter-ministerial task force.

So what can we boast off by continually using the military cum police task force in eradicating galamsey; when they are constantly been accused of human rights violations, thievery, looting as well as destroying and burning property contrary to their mandate.

Nii Adjetey-Kofi concluded that a more civil and human centered yet pragmatic approach of dialogue and education in technology change is needed to fix the ASM problem and not militarization.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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