‘Re-organising artisanal small-scale mining is crucial’

Cape Town (South Africa)- Mr Blay Thompson, National Executive Council Member of the Ghana Mine Workers Union, has said with the changing dynamics of the labour market and the growth in the informal economies, re-organising artisanal small-scale mining is important.

He said this would help create alternatives to formal jobs, using the informal mining sector as an approach.

Mr Thompson said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency on the side-lines of the Alternative Mining Indaba (AMI2020) in Cape Town, South Africa.

The four-day workshop is on the theme: “Environmentally and Economically Sustainable Mineral Economies in an era of Climate Change Catastrophe.

It is being attended by major industry players, multinational organisations, governments, Faith and Community-based leaders.

Mr Thompson said data from the Ghana Chamber of Mines revealed that gold produced by large-scale mining companies declined from 2.808 million ounces in 2017 to 2.807 million ounces in 2018.

He said within the same period, the quantity of locally sourced gold evaluated by the Precious Marketing Mineral Company (PMMC) grew to 1.987 million ounces relative to 1.479 million ounces in 2017.

In 2018 production outturn indicates that share of small-scale mining to total gold production rose to 41.4% in 2018 relative to 34.5% in 2017.

He said the trend was indicative of the contribution of artisanal small-scale mining (ASM) and possible take-over in the years ahead to foster social licence and ensure the future materialisation of the African Mining Vision.

Mr Thompson, however, mentioned some challenges to include increased institutionalised weaknesses, corruption, easy transportability of minerals and numerous complex trading channels in the implementation of small-scale mining laws.

Again, he said, license regimes were laborious and cumbersome and lacked requisite knowledge on the part of artisans and owners of concessions about requirements of small-scale mining laws.

Mr Thompson said reason to unionise and re-organise artisanal small-scale mining was to increase union density, build power resources along the value-chain to promote decent work agenda, and empower workers in the informal sector.

He said Ghana Mine Workers Union aimed to increase its visibility through education and advocacy, build alliances with Civil Society Organisations, and continuously mobilise and align activities with local and international laws and practices, while developing a welfare system along occupational health and safety lines.

The workshop serves as a training platform for selected journalists from Africa to hone their craft on tracking Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) on the Continent.

It is under the auspices of the Thompson Reuters Foundation’s Wealth of Nations and the Institute for the Advancement of Journalism.

Source: Ghana News Agency