“Illegal mining in whichever form in the country is wrong and must not be encouraged but I detest the burning of the excavators” Dr. Tony Aubyn has said.
The government as part of measures to control illegal mining and its adverse effect on water bodies across the country were seizing and burning excavators used for the illegal operations.
Reacting to this on the Ghana Yensom show morning show on Accra100.5fm on Thursday, 27 January 2022, Dr Aubyn who is the former Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Minerals Commission said “I have always held a different view about the burning of excavators and other mining equipment seized from some illegal mining sites across the country.”
“The burning of the said equipment has not served a meaningful purpose in the fight against illegal mining,” he bemoaned.
He maintained that the use of brute force does not solve problems in the mining sector and that was not the way to fight illegal mining.
He stressed that even though the use of excavators has contributed to many of the devastations that have been seen in the mining areas, burning them after the seizure is not the way to go.
“It is the reason in 2013 when we started the ‘Stop Galamsey’ campaign, some of us stood against the burning of the equipment when the government took the decision to burn many of these equipment seized on the ground.”
Giving a background to the history of mining, he said in time past, Ghanaians could not possess an ounce of Gold let alone engage in mining activities because it was a crime until 1989 when the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) revised the mining law and passed the Mercury and Small-Scale mining laws in the country.
This he said paved the way for Ghanaians to get license to engage in mining activities in the country.
He called for a review of the existing small-scale mining law adding that many of the small-scale miners have moved from the use of shovels to the use of excavators among others in the sector so these developments must be recognized as such.
He noted that the new law should differentiate between small-scale and medium-scale mining because not all local miners are small-scale miners.
He appealed to the minerals commission to speed up the licensing processes because many small-scale miners often complain about the delays in acquiring a license.