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Peter Amewu-Minister for Lands and Natural Resources
Peter Amewu-Minister for Lands and Natural Resources

Scramble over sand mine …As small scale miners find new jobs

Ghana’s effort to save its natural environment from incessant degradation may become a fruitless endeavor if the latest sand weaning craze is not stopped as a matter of urgency.

Public Agenda  can  report that some small scale Miners  in the Ashanti region who  have  been  pushed out  of  business following  government moratorium  on  mining have now found solace in weaning sand  for sale;  a  situation  that equally cause  serious degradation to  the environment  and  the  country’s  biodiversity.

The  Miners have  in a brazen fashion, invaded  some  part of  the Ashanti Region, specifically Offinso , Boamang, Anua- Nkwanta, Amoako  and Ahenkro,  mining  sand  and  gravels  and   leaving  tracks  of  land degraded.

The Paper’s enquiry pointed to the fact that the sand weaning business booms in the aforementioned areas due to the suspension of small scale mining by the government.

Thus, owners of excavators and Pay Loaders who could not bare the brunt of being out of business resorted to sand weaning to make a living.

Chiefs and Land owners give out their lands to these sand contractors at prices ranging from  Ghc 4000- 7000  per  acre  depending on the  grade of  the Sand on the land and the  proximity of  the  site to the central  business  areas.

Usually the deal is that, the Land owner takes back the land after the sand contractors have mined   the quantity they want.

Public Agenda also understands that the majority of the Sand contractors do not have the permit to mine but are doing so because they have the equipment and money to do it .

In Ghana, the Minerals and Mining Act (Act 703), also regulates the activities of those who engage in sand and stone mining, while the Minerals Commission issues licenses for such activities.

The Act also classifies sand and stone as major minerals, and therefore subjects them to the same process of obtaining license or permit like those who mine gold, diamond, bauxite among others

Ghanaians have previously expressed displeasure about the long period of waiting, coupled with the cumbersome administrative procedures and the stress of having to travel all the way to Accra for sand mining permit. That, according to them is discouraging and therefore compels them to engage in the illegal activities.

A sand miner who, Mr Alhassan Sienu spoke to Public Agenda said he and his colleagues who have been mining  in the area  with permits  some  time   are now are currently jobless following the take over of  their  business by the small scale miners.

Mr Sienu told Public Agenda “these are people who have got the money to buy as many acres of land as they require .They have their own earth moving machines and the only thing they buy is fuel.  But Me,I have to  hire the machine and fill it with Fuel so you can see that our profit margins will not be the same.

He added  that “ now  the  land owners  do  not lease to those  of  us who  just want one  or  two acres, they only lease to the small scale miners who can afford about 10  to15 acres. So the small scale miners are pushing us out of business. We want to plead with the government to step in and stop them.

Mr Nicolas Gyan, 42- year old man who used  to work at Prestea  as a small scale miner said he  lost  his  job as  a result  of  the moratorium and  thought that  it was wise  to engage in the sand  mining business  to cater for  himself  an  the  family. He admitted  that he  did  not  have  a  permit  to mine  but intends  to apply for  one soon.


By Mohammed Suleman 






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