A former minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr Inusah Fuseini, says although mining contributes to the development of the country, it must not be done to the detriment of the environment.
According to him, unregulated small-scale mining destroyed the environment, polluted water bodies and posed health challenges to the people in areas they were done.
"Past governments have attempted to deal with small-scale mining, all with little success; the recent one was the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Small-Scale Mining," he said.
Mr Fuseini said this when he chaired the first plenary session of the just-ended National Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining which was held at the Accra International Conference Centre.
The two-day event was on the theme: "Sustainable Small-Scale Mining for National Development."
It was attended by a host of personalities and groups, including chiefs, representatives of political parties, Parliamentary Select Committees on Lands and Forestry, Mines and Energy and Environment, civil society organisations and industry players.
The dialogue was opened last Wednesday by the President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who among other things called for consensus building on issues regarding mining.
On day two of the dialogue, the sector Minister, Mr Samuel Abu Jinapor, hailed the bipartisan support lent to the event.
Discussants at the plenary session identified the lack of enforcement of laws against unregulated mining as one of the key factors responsible for illegal mining across the country.
Moreover, they said influence from highly placed people in the institutions regulating the mining sector was another factor.
The discussants who said this were a representative of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, Nii Laryea Sowah; a representative of the Ministerial Committee to Develop a Blueprint for Small-Scale Mining,
Mr Benjamin Aryee; the acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Minerals Commission, Mr Martin Ayisi; the Finance Director of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, and the CEO of the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, Mr Suleman Koney.
Setting the tone for the conversation, Mr Sowah said a poor licensing regime had resulted "in the mess that we find ourselves in".
In other jurisdictions, he said the regulatory authorities ensured that they decentralised the licensing of small-scale miners in order to regulate their activities.
For his part, Mr Ayisi said getting viable places for small-scale mining that was the main challenge.
The commission, he said, had designated over 4,000 square kilometres of lands, but it was just not enough to say those were places for small-scale mining.
Mr Ayisi said getting small-scale miners viable places to work was what the country had not done.
He said there were instances where there were allocated places but after some time, they moved to the concessions of people.
Mr Opoku said the major consideration of small-scale miners was getting viable and mineable places.
That, he said, was what was responsible for them moving to large-scale concessions of other people.