Seventy-two small scale mining groups at the Gbane Community in the Upper East Region have generated more than 20,000 jobs for the people.
The activities of the miners have been regularized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Mineral Commission.
The youth, women, and the elderly have gained employment under the regularized Small Scaling Mining activities.
The Regional Director of EPA, Mr. Asher Nkegbe, in an interview with GNA, said his outfit had also renewed 16 permits whilst the remaining ones were being studied for review.
He said small scale mining contributed about 30 per cent of the 3.6 million ounces of gold produced in the country in 2011, and had the potential of generating hundreds of thousands of jobs for the youth, if their activities were streamlined.
The Agency, in collaboration with the Mineral Commission, is thus regularizing the operations of such miners to operate within acceptable laws and practices in the region.
The operations of these miners have opened up businesses as “chop bars”, drinking bars and provisions stores, among others, are multiplying.
Many people from Bolgatanga and other parts of the Upper East Region troop daily to the area to transact businesses, thereby creating other indirect jobs.
Speaking to the GNA at Gbane, some of the Registered Small Scale Mining groups said their living conditions had improved, as they could cater for themselves and their families, particularly, their children’s education.
Mr Dammy Ayatame, a 45 year old man, who is the Chairman of the Datuuku Small Scale Mining Group, stated that his outfit alone had engaged about 1,700 people including women, who hitherto had nothing to do and had to travel to the southern parts of the country to do menial jobs.
“Personally, through the mining, I have bought a car, which is doing business for me and takes my children to school and back,” he said. “I have also built three houses, which are being rented out”.
Mr Kojo Tanze, the Chairman of the Nongtaaba Small Scale Mining Group, stated that he provided the needs of his family through the mining activities.
He said in the past, he deserted his family and left for the south to do menials jobs such as the pounding of “fufu in chop bars” and weeding, but upon hearing about the discovery of the mineral deposits, he returned home.
A 40 year old woman, Madam Cynthia Sema, who has opened a drinking spot in the area, said she could make good sales in a day and the survival of her business depended on the sustenance of the legalized small scale mining business.
The Registered Small Scale miners argued that the big mining companies in the country also started on a very small scale.
They, therefore, encouraged all state institutions to collaborate and regulate illegal mining activities in the country. GNA