Government, through the Minerals Commission, has out doored a mercury-free technology for processing gold ore in compliance with the Minamata Convention.
The technology, known as 'Mercury-free Alluvial Processing Technology' can extract 90 percent pure gold from the gold ore without adding any mercury and comes in different versions such as movable and non-movable ones and could be operated by using electricity or diesel respectively.
It was manufactured by Commodity Monitor, a Ghanaian-owned engineering firm and registered by the Minerals Commission for processing gold ore in Ghana without endangering the environment.
It will cost between US$40,000 and US$45,000 to assemble the full components of the equipment, comprising a crasher, miller, processor, polytank and smelter.
The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural, Mr George Mireku Duker, who commissioned the technology at a ceremony at the Minerals Commission headquarters in Accra, said the adoption and operationalization of the technology was in sync with government's vision of getting rid of mercury in gold processing because of the health and safety risks posed to miners and environment in general.
He gave the assurance that government, through the Minerals Commission, would procure the equipment for the youth and pay the cost instalment.
He noted that the technology would help the nation to fulfil a requirement signed under the Minamata Convention to refrain from using mercury in gold processing.
The Minamata Convention was a United Nations convention signed by countries involved in mining in 2013 and came into full force in 2017, which Ghana was a signatory, to avoid using mercury in mining operations because of the health and safety risks associated with the use of the chemical.
Mr Martin Ayisi, Acting Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said the technology was piloted in some mining communities and the outcome was positive.
He said the technology would help the government to fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey) since miners wouldn't require mercury and much water for processing the gold ore.
Mr S. K Boaful, the immediate past Board Chairman of the Minerals Commission, said it was during his tenure as the Board Chairman that the technology was discovered and believed that it would go a long way to ensure sustainable mining practices in Ghana.
Mr Stephen Yeboah, the CEO of Commodity Monitor, demonstrated the use of the equipment and benefits it would bring to miners and the country at large and said adopting and operationalizing the equipment could reduce the time from processing about 20 kilogrammes of gold ore from eight hours to 40 minutes, while the number of persons required for the work from 10 to two.
The equipment could also be rented out to miners that cannot buy.