Friends of the Nation (FoN), a socio-environmental advocacy NGO based in the Western Region of Ghana has commended the Government of Ghana for ratifying the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
According to the NGO, this signifies the commitment of the Government to reduce and eliminate the use of mercury in Artisanal and Small scale Gold Mining (ASGM) and mercury-added products.
A statement signed by Mr. Donkris Mevuta, the Executive Director of FoN also congratulate the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and all other stakeholders for this important milestone.
“It is noteworthy that on March 23, 2017, Ghana deposited its instrument of accession to the Minamata Convention, thereby becoming the 40th future party of the Convention,” he added.
He mentioned that as the country prepares its National Action Plan (NAP) on ASGM under the Convention, “FoN calls on the Government to adopt a participatory approach to ensure all relevant stakeholders are actively involved in the process.”
He stated that currently, FoN is supporting the implementation of the Convention through background research to profile Ghana’s ASGM sector, help mobilize miners and civil society organizations to contribute to the preparation of the National Action Plan and baseline inventory of mercury use in ASGM.
“Throughout FoN stakeholder consultations, it has become clear that many artisanal & small scale gold miners are willing to regularize their operations and adopt mercury-free technology to extract gold. This presents us a great opportunity to increase efforts towards formalization of the sector and maximizing the benefits of ASGM,” he executive director said.
The group recommends that Government should increase collaboration with research, academic institutions, civil society organizations; and to develops partners and miners to improve existing mercury reduction and mercury free technologies such as the glass retort and Direct Smelting Methods to make them accessible, cheaper, easy to use and recover more gold.
The NGO also asked the government to enhance the formalization of the ASGM sector by increasing miners’ access to viable lands and better financing, reducing mining licensing procedure and increasing the human and technical resources of the District Offices of the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency to function effectively.