The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury.
The ratification of the Convention showed the commitment of the Government to reduce and ensure the ultimate elimination of the use of mercury in Artisanal and Small Scale Gold Mining (ASGM) and mercury-added products.
A statement signed by Donkris Mevuta, Executive Director of FoN, lauded the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology & Innovation and the Environmental Protection Agency and other stakeholders for the decision.
The statement said, “It is noteworthy that on March 23, 2017, Ghana deposited its instrument of accession to the Minamata Convention, thereby becoming the 40th future party to the Convention.”
It said as the country prepares its National Action Plan (NAP) on ASGM under the Convention, Government must however adopt a participatory approach to ensure that all relevant stakeholders were actively involved in the process.
Currently, FoN is supporting the implementation of the Convention through background research to profile Ghana’s ASGM sector, mobilization of miners and civil society organisations to contribute to the preparation of the National Action Plan and baseline inventory of mercury use in ASGM, it added.
“Throughout our stakeholder consultations, it has become clear that many artisanal & small scale gold miners were willing to regularise their operations and adopt mercury-free technology to extract gold.
This presents us a great opportunity to increase efforts towards formalisation of the sector and maximising the benefits of ASGM.”
It therefore recommended to government to increase collaboration with research, academic institutions, civil society organisations, development 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 statement also called for enhanced 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.
It called for increased public awareness on the impacts of mercury on human health, the environment and the Minamata Convention and improve data collection and monitoring of mercury imports, trade and supply.
The Convention has 128 Signatories and 40 countries have ratified it, including seventeen African countries. Ghana signed the Convention on September 24, 2014.