OVER 74,200 CHILDREN IDENTIFIED IN MINING

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OVER 74,200 CHILDREN IDENTIFIED IN MINING.

Over 74,200 children have been identified to be working under hazardous conditions in small-scale mining and at quarry sites, the 2014 Child Labour Report of the Ghana Living Standards Survey (GLSS6, 2014), has revealed.

According to the report, the children,who are between five and 17 years, are exposed to mercury which causes injury to the brain, heart, kidneys, lungs as well as the entire immune system as they work in the those sites.

The  report pointed out that the mining law states that “persons under 18 years are prohibited from mining. In addition, persons under 21 years are not allowed to work underground”.

This notwithstanding, the report indicated that children who had not attained 18 years are seen underground, a situation which exposed them to dust, noise and vibration as well as poor ventilation.

It is, therefore, not surprising that the survey found out that some of the children had developed awkward postures due to the continuous and long periods that they have to bend while they look for diamonds or wash to separate gold ore from other sand particles as they work at the mine sites.

It further revealed that most of the children who worked in the mines had become the breadwinners of their families since they earned a lot of money which was used to take care of their families while those who are in school used some of the money to pay for their education.

It is as a result of these findings that the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the United States Department of Labour launched a new project in Accra to deal with child labour in the artisanal and small-scale mining sector in Ghana and the Philippines.

Making a presentation at the launch of the project, the Project Director of ILO, Ghana, Mrs Lalaina M. Razafindrakoto, said the new project which was called the Caring Gold Mining Project ”was to bring together all stakeholders to fight against child labour to put together strategies to improve working conditions in the artisanal and small-scale mining in Ghana.

She said according to the Ghana National Association of Small-scale Miniers, 70 per cent of artisanal and small-scale gold miners operated without licenses and were thus unregulated.

She pointed out that lack of regulation fostered poor working conditions and also allows children to work in the sector.

Mrs Lalaina M. Razafindrakoto noted that the mining sites where the projects would be implemented were Adumenu in the Ashanti Region and Morchkrom, Achimfo as well as Dadieso, all in Asankragua in the Western Region.

BY EUGENIA ASARE TANDOH.

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