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WIM Ghana calls for recognition of women in small scale mining


  22 Mai      14        Science (378),

   

Accra, May 22, GNA- Mrs Georgette B. Sakyi- Addo, President of Women in Mining (WIM) Ghana, has called for the recognition of women in Artisanal and Small Scale Mining (ASM).
  “We must recognise that women are involved in artisanal and small scale mining, and it is time to pay attention to their needs, assist them with access to the requisite technology and financing,” she said.
  Mrs Sakyi-Addo made the call at a stakeholders’ engagement on the outcomes of the project on promoting environmental and socially responsible ASM among women in the Northern Region.
  She said if such women were supported with technology, innovation and improvement to data and network infrastructure in remote areas, tremendous change would come to the mining sector.
   The objectives of the project were to undertake research that explored the challenges faced by women in ASM in the region for inputs into policy development.
   The project also included; a series of training sessions provided by WIM Ghana for women in ASM in Tinga, Bole District on responsible mining concerning health and safety.
   Ms. Sarah-Jane Danchie, Director, The Social Investment Consultancy (TSIC) Africa said, “Responsible mining was the internationally accepted standard of mining, which respects and protects the interest of stakeholders, upholding human health and the environment as paramount.”
   Responsible mining, Ms Danchie said, is expected to contribute to the economic development of the host country and strengthen the local community, while instilling best practices, international and local, and upholding the rule of the law.
  “Women within the mining community suffer the most adverse effects of ASM from dealing with harmful chemicals such as mercury, but they lacked understanding of its dangerous impact and some of them even work with the mercury at home.
  “This is serious because amongst the women that the project worked with, about a third were aged between 19 and 35 and so of child bearing age,” she said.
  Ms Rosemary Okla, a member of WIM in a presentation on the outcomes of the research, revealed that the women faced challenges such as the lack of access to financial support to purchase ore bearing rock and basic equipment.
   According to her, the findings from the research conducted at Tinga, Bole District of the Savannah region in North of Ghana, showed that about 96 per cent of the women in ASM lacked technical knowledge and professional or artisanal skills in mining, which posed major challenges to them.
   Ms. Hamdiya Orleans-Boham of WIM noted from the research that, “Non-refractory ores are the commonly found ores in most small-scale mines in Ghana and postulated to yield about 95 per cent higher recovery when mined right than the artisanal way.
  “Thus as Ghanaians we must understand the gold language and also think of sustainability when extracting the gold without endangering our health or the environment and still maximise profit,” she said.
  As part of the discussions, WIM Ghana called for responsible mining practices for a safe environment, potable water and food security.
   It called for a temporary day care centre close to the sites for children of women in ASM to enable them to work effectively and the increased participation of women in the Community Mining Scheme Oversight Committees.
   The research recommended that there should be a regulated buying centre, especially for ASM women, and a mandate by the government for every mining site to have proper sanitation facilities.
   It recommended that government agencies organised more sensitisation sessions for the women and highlighted the need for social protection services such as National Health Insurance, Social Security and National Identification.
  The women in ASM appealed to the government for training on environmental health, mining and safety issues.
   They also appealed for start-up capital and asked the government to regulate gold prices “properly.”
   Ms. Fafa Kukubor, Gender Officer, Minerals Commission, said the Commission had established a Gender and International Relations Unit which would address issues of child labour, mercury use and other international issues that bordered on women in the mining sector.
  “We would incorporate the Community Mine Scheme into our scheme and provide mercury-free technologies, empower women and make sure they get the maximum benefits from their work in the sector,’’ she said.
   WIM Ghana and TSIC Africa commended all the stakeholders who supported the project including; the Ghana National Small Scale Mining association and called for more collaborations to improve the community benefits of the ASM sector in Ghana.
   The project was conducted by Women In Mining Ghana and The Social Investment Consultancy Africa (TSIC) and funded by the World Bank as part of its Extractive Global Programme Support (EGPS) -2 Emergency Response for Artisanal Mining Communities Impacted by COVID-19.
   WIM is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) consisting of all women working along the mining value chain in related fields such as industry, academia, policy and research, governance and suppliers as well as women impacted by the decision to mine.
   TSIC was founded in 2008 to impact lives and livelihoods through the promotion of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) standards and gender and racial diversity, equity and inclusion to ensure responsible investment is connected to addressing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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