September 25, 2023
2 minutes read
Small-scale miners have been urged to adopt modern methods of mining instead of mercury to preserve the environment and promote the industry.
The Programmes Director for the Fund for Peace, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with the head office in Washington, Wendy Wilson, who made the call in Accra on Monday during training for about 20 journalists on the Artisanal Small-scale Gold Mining (ASGM), said mercury was harmful to the environment and humans.
Mercury, she said, did not only impact on those who use it but the whole society, adding that it contaminates water bodies and leads to kidney malfunction.
According to Ms Wilson, the use of the University of Mines and Technology (UMAT)’s Smart-Smelting Technology called Sikabukyia, an alternative to mercury, could help boost and sustain the ASGM sector.
The training formed part of the Responsive Engagement and Collective Bearing Approaches to Inform Mercury Substitution in Artisanal and Small-scale Gold Mining, Ghana (RECLAIMS ASGM Ghana) project which aims to reduce mercury use in the ASGM sector.
The six-year project, which started in 2018 and just ended and funded by the US Department of State, is implemented by The Fund for Peace in collaboration with UMAT and the West Africa Network for Peacebuilding Ghana.
Ms Wilson indicated that the RECLAIMS ASGM project implemented in the Western North and Upper East Region involved national-level activities, including policy work and local-level operation activities where The Fund for Peace worked to increase the capacity of ASGM practitioners to adopt alternatives to mercury use.
She said at the local level about 100 ASGM practitioners were educated on the UMAT Direct Smelting Technology to extract gold.
“At the national level, we organised dialogues for government, the donor community, and implementers to come together to have a common platform and space to discuss the variety and rich array of policies and projects being implemented in an effort to maximise the impact of this project,” Ms Wilson stated.
She also said as part of the project, “We also have a regional programme to foster a community of practice around the harmonisation of reducing mercury use in the ASGM in the ECOWAS Member States as well as the supply of mercury in the zone.”
The Programmes Manager of The Fund for Peace, Christopher Nyarko, in a presentation, said effective reportage from journalists on ASGM could better inform citizens about happenings in the mining sector.