ACCRA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- The Ghanaian government has lifted the ban on small-scale mining, effective Dec. 17, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation said here on Friday.
The announcement follows the successful development of a comprehensive policy framework to regularize small-scale mining across the country.
So far, some 1,350 miners have been successfully vetted with over 900 out of the figure being granted licenses to operate.
According to the minister, the lifting of the ban would allow only successfully vetted miners to work within the regularized and reformed framework.
As part of the reforms, all mining companies are expected to have at least one person trained in sustainable mining at the University of Mines and Technology.
The government has also put in place measures to keep the mining sector under surveillance using drones.
The Ghanaian government placed a ban on small-scale mining in the first quarter of 2017 to study and deal with activities of small-scale miners who had been accused of degrading the environment and polluting water bodies.
The lifting of the ban would come as good news to small-scale miners who have expressed their displeasure with the government's decision to stop them from mining which they said was affecting their livelihoods.
Ghana is Africa's second largest gold producer after South Africa exporting more than three million ounces of gold annually.