By Erica Apeatua Addo, GNA
Tarkwa (W/R), Aug 6, GNA-The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr Addae Antwi-Boadiako, has indicated that the Commission would 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, he 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 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 negative health and safety issues, the CEO pointed out.
According to him "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.
He lamented that even though Ghana had a plethora of policies, laws and regulations; environmental issues were still areas of concern.
Stakeholders in the mining sector needed to collaborate in the enforcement of such laws and regulations, Mr Antwi-Boadiako charged.
He said they were aware of the self-regulation efforts of industries players through the Chamber of Mines and internationally through application of regulatory codes development by the Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM)
The CEO stated 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.
He cited the use of less amount of water in mineral processing, as well as reusing recycled water for processing leads to efficient use of their resources as part of the 3R introduction.
He said "other areas that could use improved and innovative technology included reclamation of mined out pits, reduction in vibration from blasting, reduction in emission and controlling process water in tailings storage facilities".
The CEO said waste management was also one of the critical challenges in the mining industry and implored academicians and researchers to come up with solutions in this area.