Flush Out Chinese In Galamsey

At the weekend, good old Ghana Television did all Ghanaians a favour by showing Tiger Eye’s exposé put together by Anas Aremeyaw Anas on how illegal mining, otherwise known to the average Ghanaian as galamsey, is destroying our water bodies and degrading our lands.

Everybody with true Ghanaian blood flowing in him or her must be annoyed by the way foreigners, mainly Chinese, have invaded our territory and turned our water bodies into poisonous liquids, ready to decimate our population.

The Chronicle is aware of many excuses being offered by the presence of these Chinese in illegal mining, with the claim that there are Ghanaian collaborators. We do not pretend to be unaware that powerful Ghanaians are behind these brazen Chinese flouting our laws with impunity.

Invariably, they are aided by chiefs, politicians, and even members of the security services. That is a fact we cannot run away from. But does the presence of local collaborators make it legal for Chinese nationals to mine our gold illegally and poison our water bodies? The answer is a big No.

The laws of Ghana are clear. Foreigners have no place in small-scale mining. It pre-supposes that the State of Ghana has a duty to flush out these Chinese, who are brazenly flouting our laws.

What makes the Chinese presence in galamsey even more alarming is that they are responsible for heavy machinery in our rivers searching for alluvial gold, in the process of which our rivers are poisoned with dangerous chemicals like cyanide and mercury.

Apart from poisoning our sources of drinking water with careless abandon, most of these Chinese are trigger-happy, ready to shoot and kill anybody they consider as an impediment to their dangerous operations. In the hinterland, where these illegal Chinese ply their trade, there are credible reports of killings, rape and other activities that endanger the lives of the local inhabitants.

The Chronicle believes that the first line of attack on galamsey is to get these Chinese out of the country. We do not believe arresting these illegal miners would constitute any infringement on our investment code. We do not believe it hinges on xenophobia either. These are criminals and should be treated as such.

We do not believe any Ghanaian could go to the People’s Republic of China on any kind of visa and enter into mining. Why are we tolerating them here then?

It is the submission of this paper that no attempt at ending the galamsey menace would succeed without a concerted assault on the presence of Chinese in illegal mining.

This country is a haven for foreigners who come in, flout our laws with impunity, and make money at the expense of the local people.

Surely, we cannot continue to put the lives of our people and future generations at risk, by allowing these Chinese to continue to pollute our water bodies and degrade the land.

We are urging the government to wage a war on these Chinese, with the clear goal of flushing them out of the system. The Chronicle is happy with all the vibes being made by the new Minister of Lands and Natural Resources. But, Mr. Peter Amewu would not win the war on galamsey without flushing out these Chinese in the illegal trade.

When the Chinese have been dealt with, it would be relatively easier to get our local lads in galamsey to listen to reason. Galamsey is the greatest threat to our existence at the moment. President Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has a duty to this nation to flush out these Chinese, clean up our poisoned water bodies, and stop the degradation of our farmlands.

President Akufo-Addo, put your feet down!

 

Source: modernghana.com

Lands Minister warns politicians, chiefs financing galamsey to stop

By: Austin Brako-Powers, myjoyonline.com

 

Lands and Forest Minister John Peter Amewu has warned government will not spare anyone in its effort to combat illegal mining known as galamsey.

He has served notice to politicians, chiefs and other Ghanaians who are backing the illegal miners to desist from same forthright else they would be dealt with if they are found culpable.

Speaking on the Joy FM’s Top Story programme Tuesday, Mr Amewu said government will act swiftly because the political will to stamp out the practice is high.

A major discourse in the country for the past month has been about the activities of illegal miners that are degrading the forests and polluting water bodies.

The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development blamed on illegal mining.

These activities are carried out by some Ghanaians with their Chinese counterparts in largely poor communities in the country.

Last Friday, six Chinese were arrested in the Western Region for illegally mining in the Ankobrah River, muddying it beyond use.

Mr Amewu has indicated his preparedness to save Ghana’s environment by discouraging the practice.

On Monday, the Minister met with the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, Sun Baohong to discuss with her how she could work with government to discourage the Chinese from going into illegal mining.

At the end of the discussion, Mr Amewu begged the Chinese Ambassador to speak to her fellow nationals.

Some Ghanaians were displeased with the tone of the Minister, suggesting his posture indicates he is not in the position to end the menace.

But Mr Amewu said he was not soft on the Chinese as it has been claimed in the public. “I spoke with passion…I made an appeal.”

He said the reason Ghana has not been able to end the practice is because previous governments adopted militant and combative approach. “They have not worked.”

He said they are coming with a more sustainable approach to end the practice and save the environment.

Upper Denkyira West Member of Parliament (MP), Nsonwah Gyan, has asked government to tread cautiously in its attempt to flush out illegal miners.

He said galamsey has become the main source of livelihood for many people, adding any attempt to discourage the practice without an alternative source of livelihood will not work.

“My constituency will be most affected if these galamseyers are flashed out because about 10,000 people are into in this industry and for that the government has to take a second look at it,” he said.

Although he admitted illegal mining has led to the pollution of the rivers in his Constituency, Mr Gyan said it has employed “so many young people” who also taking care of their families.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Government is not taking galamsey activities lightly – Minister

By: Joyce Danso, GNA

Accra, March 28, GNA – Mr Peter John Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources on Tuesday affirmed government’s commitment to fight against activities of ‘galamsey’ operators which turn to pollute water bodies and deplete farm lands in the country.

‘Government is not taking galamsey activities lightly at all. We are serious about it. We cannot allow these activities to continue…government would soon roll-out measures in the coming weeks to stem their activities,’ Mr Amewu stated.

The Minister spoke to media practitioners after the inauguration of the Ministry’s Audit Committee at a ceremony in Accra.

Mr Amewu commended the media for the advocacy carried out against the activities of galamsey operators, adding; ‘with the kind of sentiments displayed by the public, measurers taken against operators by government would not generate any hue and cry’.

The Minister therefore appealed to the media to continue to offer the needed support as the government marshalled forces to combat the activities of galamsey operators.

On the inauguration of the Committee, the Minister assured the members that the Ministry would support it to deliver on their mandate effectively in order to achieve the government’s agenda.

He therefore, entreated the Audit Committee to regard themselves as ‘partners in development and to always make national interest paramount in the discharge of your duties.

‘I wish to charge incoming members of the Committee to apply the principles of integrity, honesty, objectivity and humility in all that they do,’ Mr Amewu added.

The five- member Committee include Mr Isaac Amartey, a representative from the Internal Audit Agency (IAA) as their chairman.

Other members are Mr Amewu, Professor Bruce Baneong-Yakubu, Chief Director of the Ministry, Mr Samuel Gyekye-Mensah a representative of IAA and Mr Samuel Baimbill-Johnson a representative of Institute of Chartered Accountant.

The Audit Committee formally known as Audit Committee Report Implementation (ARIC) was a statutory and high level independent corporate governance committee in the Public Sector Financial Management System.

It is mandated to follow up on the implementation of audit recommendation to ensure efficient and effective utilisation of public resources in line with the objectives of the Public Financial Management Act (PFMA).

According to the PMFA, 2016, Act 921, the Audit Committee at the Ministerial level consists of five members including two top management members from the Ministry.

The three other independent members are also drawn from IAA and ICA.

Mr Ransford Agyei, Acting Director General of IAA, who sworn in the five member committee, reminded members that six month after the end of each financial year, they were required to submit reports to the Office of the President, Parliament and Auditor General.

According to Mr Agyei, they were also mandated to pursue the implementation of Parliament’s decision on the Auditor General’s Report and indicated the remedial action taken to avoid recurrence of undesirables feature in the accounts of operations of the Ministry.

 

Source: modernghana.com

You stop galamsey, you create a bigger problem – Baba Jamal

Former Member of Parliament for Akwatia, a constituency notorious for illegal mining, Baba Jamal, says the chorus against illegal mining is not well informed.

He told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show if care is not taken, stopping illegal mining known in local parlance as galamsey, could create more problems for the country.

There is a groundswell of anger against galamsey in the wake of a bleak projection by the Water Research Institute that Ghana could be importing water in the not too distant future.

Already, some river bodies that served as the source of water for treatment plants have either dried up or been badly polluted.

The prospects of Ghana facing a water crisis and the wanton destruction of the country’s vegetative cover by Ghanaians and their Chinese collaborators burrowing under the earth’s surface in search of gold has jolted many Ghanaians into a frenzy.

There have been loud calls on government, particularly the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, to clamp down on the illegal activities of galamseyers.

But Baba Jamal who is also a former Deputy Minister for Employment and Labour Relations says stopping galamsey without a detailed plan on how to cater for the needs of the teeming youth could create bigger problems for the country.

He said the problems caused by illegal mining are serious. “I am against galamsey,” he maintained.

But an immediate stop to the business of galamsey is not the answer, he insisted.

Baba Jamal said the legal regime for small-scale mining which is legal must be addressed.

“We need to regularise illegal mining and protect the environment,” Baba Jamal said.

The use of gun-toting security men to chase illegal miners as part of efforts to stop galamsey, he believes, is simply unworkable and unsustainable.

Licensing of small-scale mining should be decentralised to remove the tired bureaucratic inertia which forces miners to mine without licenses.

He said people who apply for mining licenses have to travel to Accra and in almost all cases, it takes an unreasonably long time and laborious processes to obtain a license.

Unable to wait for the long processes before being licensed, people start mining.

District Assemblies, Baba Jamal, said must be involved in the licensing processes and must be empowered to revoke the license of any company that is violating the mining regulations and polluting the environment.

Until that is done, he said, using the security agencies to fight galamsey simply won’t work.

Freelance journalist, Edem Srem, told Joy FM’s Super Morning Show that it is practically impossible to rely on creating job opportunities as a means of stopping galamsey.

He said galamsey is so lucrative that no other economic activity can entice those involved in galamsey to voluntarily stop their destructive activities.

He said three million Ghanaians cannot be allowed to destroy water sources and the environment and create problems for 22 million others.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Government proposes to tackle illegal mining through collaboration

Government would tackle illegal mining activities (galamsey) through collaboration, law enforcement and technological approach, Mr John Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources has announced.

He said these interventions would first have to identify the challenges and the available opportunities in the mining sector.

He recounted that in 2014, a number of foreigners were arrested in various swoops and deported.

He said the commitment to sustain these swoops to preserve and protect the environment had been lacking because it was not sustainable.

“This is why the Ministry has come up with a concept of Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP),” Mr Amewu stated on Wednesday in Accra during the Stakeholders Workshop on ‘How to Control Illegal Mining Activities in Ghana.’

“This Project will be planned and implemented between three to five years. A holistic approach to combat illegal mining relies on more than just militants and combat actions in mining communities; MMIP combines Legislations Enforcement Civil Integration and Technical Approach (LECITA) as a sustainable and structured but regimental conjoint concept which will encompass multi stakeholders,” the Minister stated.

Mr Amewu said the mining sector in Ghana was categorised into large and small scale; adding that the Small Scale Mining (SSM) sector was reserved for Ghanaians, while the Large Scale Mining (LSM) sector was opened for foreign participation.

“It is estimated that 25,000 and over 1.5 million people are engaged in the large scale and the small scale mining sectors respectively,” he said.

“One can only see that the SSM sector provides more jobs to people than the large scale mining sector.

“However, the LSM sector is more organised and, therefore, environmentally friendly than the small scale mining especially illegal mining,” he said.
Mr Amewu said illegal SSM was seen carried out in forest reserves, water bodies, cocoa farms and LSM concessions and even around sensitive infrastructures like schools and railway lines.

He explained that Galamsey activities have had and continue to have negative impacts on the environment and socio-economic development of the entire country in recent years.

Mr Amewu said the menace of illegal mining had assumed a dimension that posed a threat to national security and therefore, required a multi-stakeholder engagement to identify the various challenges and available opportunities for overcoming them.

He said various interventions initiated by successive governments to address the galamsey menace had been hampered by various challenges such as the lack of political will, inability to enforce laws and ownership of lands versus ownership of minerals.

Others were the spectrum of people involved, diplomatic relations with affected foreign nationals’ countries and necessary support from some state institutions and every citizen.

He said the government had the political will to enforce the appropriate measures to control illegal mining in the country.

Dr Toni Aubynn, the Chief Executive Officer of the Minerals Commission, said it was high time government found a lasting solution to the issue of illegal mining in the country.

Mr Jacob Osei Yeboah, a mining consultant and an Independent Presidential Candidate in the 2016 general election, called for a second look at the issue of SSM; adding that there was the need to develop a system to reclaim all degraded mining areas.

Nana Ehunabobrim Prah Agyensaim VI, Paramount Chief of the Assin Owirenkyi Traditional Area, who chaired the event, explained that illegal mining was an illegality and should not be confused with galamsey activties.

Mr Jiang Zhouteng, the Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Ghana and Mr Andrew Barns, the Australian High Commissioner to Ghana were among the dignitaries who attended the workshop.

 

Source: ghanabusinessnews.com

Public told not to build around buffer Zones

By: Mildred Siabi-Mensah GNA
Takoradi, March 9, GNA – The citizenry have been called upon not to raise structures or dump waste along the buffers zones of the country’s water bodies.

This is because leaving the buffer zones undisturbed contributed to maintaining the ecosystem, ensured protection and improvement of biodiversity.

Lawyer Bernadette Arabs Adjei, Principal Legal personnel at the Water Resources Commission at a workshop on the development of buffer zones said buffers provided the needed goods and services on sustainable basis to support the livelihood of local communities.

The workshop was to solicit input from stakeholders on a legislative instrument and dissemination of the Dam Safety Regulations (LI 2236).

Reduced vegetation cover along water bodies coupled with increasing pollution from domestic and industrial waste had resulted in sediments and its subsequent deterioration in water quality of natural water bodies, Ms Adjei noted.

The objective of the LI is aimed at ensuring that all designated buffer zones along rivers, streams, lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies are protected in a sustainable manner.

Ms Adjei said the LI sought to ensure that buffer zones were incorporated into the local land use plans, provide specifics on alterations of natural conditions in some areas and exclude the exploitation or occupations that were inimical to the purposes of designated zones.

Dr. Bob Alfa, Surface Water Engineer at the Commission, entreated Ghanaians entrepreneurs in that sector to acquire the necessary licensing from the Commission in the guidelines regarding the sector was followed.

Participants during the plenary discussion called for more community engagement and awareness on the subject to win their corporations.

The assemblies were also urged to establish bye laws to protect buffer zones.

 

Source: modernghana.com

FORIG urges increased support to produce bio-pesticides

By:  Kwabia Owusu-Mensah GNA
Fumesua, (Ash), Mar 09, GNA – The Forestry Research Institute of Ghana (FORIG) has appealed for increased national support to develop and produce botanical pesticides to aid food production.

Dr. Daniel Aniagyei Ofori, the Director, said it had already conducted research into tree species, which could be used to produce non-harmful and highly effective pesticides for farming.

He indicated that they were having a difficulty going into large scale production of these because of the lack of funds and logistical support.

He was briefing the Minister of Environment, Science Technology and Innovation (MESTI), Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, on research activities of the Institute at Fumesua in the Ejisu-Juaben Municipality.

The Minister was in the Ashanti Region to acquaint himself with the operation and the challenges faced by institutions under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Dr. Ofori said the high point of bio-pesticides was that these were not harmful and environmentally-friendly to food and cash crop production.

He mentioned the neem tree and Jathopha as some of the trees, which had proven to be suitable for bio pesticide production.

He spoke of the production of the ‘Prekese Syrup’ by the Institute, which had been certified by the Food and Drug Authority (FDA) and was on the market.

‘Prekese’ is believed to have chemical properties which can be used to manage hypertension and other heart conditions.

He said studies were ongoing to identify high-yielding and early maturing ‘prekese’ trees to establish plantations for sustainable supply of the raw material for production.

Dr. Ofori hinted of a number of model technologies and innovations to support agroforestry for climate resilience, food security and job creation.

Added to these, were technologies for sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity conservation, alongside allometric equations for above ground and below ground biomass estimation, used in mapping of forest cover and carbon stock.

FORIG has also established seed orchards and seed stands, engaged in the production of improved seeds and seedlings for planting, site-species matching and techniques for planting establishments.

Again, there was the production of briquette from sawn dust for biofuel energy and an extender for plywood production from cassava.

Dr. Ofori pointed out that it had the expertise to develop technologies that would help protect the nation’s natural resources and its biodiversity, promote efficient utilization of forest timber and non-timber products, identify medicinal and food products to improve the lives of the people.

Prof Frimpong Boateng commended FORIG for its achievement and said it was time research outcomes by local scientists were fully utilize for the benefit of the nation.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Illegal mining: Chiefs, politicians fingered in documentary to be released soon

By: Naa Sakwaba Akwa

 

Editor-in-chief of the New Crusading Guide Newspaper says chiefs, politicians and other public servants have been fingered in a documentary on illegal mining being prepared by his team.

Kweku Baako said the investigative team, supported by Anas Aremeyaw Anas’ Tiger Eye PI, has been gathering the materials for the past nine months and will be released once all the facts have been properly verified.

Speaking on Peace FM’s morning show ‘Kokroko’, the  veteran journalist and a sympathizer of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), said the details are shocking.

“It has to do with this whole galamsey thing and when we are ready, we will put out the facts. It has been going on for nine months.

“Elements in all the parties, major parties who have ruled the country, including the NPP are involved at the constituency, district and regional levels,” he said.

Residents in mining communities across the country have consistently complained about the activities of illegal miners, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.

galamsey picture of the week

Activities of galamsey operators has resulted in the pollution of the River Pra

The activities of the illegal miners – which sometimes includes Chinese – have caused a lot of damage to many river bodies, including Pra and Birim.

Many farmlands and other properties have been destroyed, striping residents off their livelihood. Earlier this week, the Tanoso Water Treatment Plant in the Brong Ahafo region had to be shut down as a result of the drying up of the Tano river.

Although the drying up of the river is partly as a result of the long period of drought in the area, residents believe the indiscriminate illegal mining activities are a major factor.

Governments over the period have failed in their attempts to curb the situation. Newly appointed Western Regional minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie says laws on illegal mining need to be enforced if the situation can be successfully addressed.

But Kweku Baako said some of the chiefs are culprits in the ongoing menace.

“Chiefs, people in the security services, the forestry and minerals commission are all part of the rot and it is spirit killing,” he said.

He is, however confident in the abilities of President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to deal with the situation once the evidence is put before him.

“I believe he will act, if he doesn’t, I will be so shocked.”

 

Source: myjoyonline.com

Minister Charged Media To Be Vociferous Against Indiscriminate Tree Felling

 

The Brong Ahafo Regional Minister, Lawyer Kwaku Asomah-Cheremeh has charged the media, both print and electronic to be vociferous against indiscriminately tree felling in the region.

Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh said the indiscriminately tree felling in the region has affected some people in the region negatively.

The Brong Ahafo Regional minister made the call when SPACE FM, a private radio station in Sunyani presented an Award the station won last year from the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).

The station was among ten radio stations in the country that won Award in recognition of their contribution to Decent Language and Issues Based Campaigning during Ghana’s 2016 Elections.

According to the Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh, the last Friday rain storm that hit some parts of the region should be a concern to all and sundry in the region.

He said his initial investigations into the incident had reviewed that, indiscriminate tree felling was a major contributor to the storm that destroyed 110 houses, school buildings and church buildings in Dormaa Central , Techiman South and in Ahafo , Asunafo Districts and rendered many families houseless.

Honorable Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh said the National Disaster Management Organization (NADMO), the Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) and the affected district assemblies are putting things together, to accommodate the homeless and seek assistance from the Central government for them.

He noted that our forests in the region are being destroyed as results of the activities of Chainsaw Operators and others.

According to the newly Brong Ahafo regional minister, the activities of the Chainsaw Operators must be discouraged before they turn our forests into deserts.

The minister added that proactive steps must be taken to encourage tree planting in the region.

Lawyer Asomah-Cheremeh said he will discuss the issue with the Brong Ahafo Forestry Service Commission (FSC), and the Regional Security Council (RESEC) will take up the matter to find a lasting solution to the indiscriminate tree felling in the region.

He charged the media to be proactive in the fight against the menace in the region.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Committee on Lands and Forestry pushes for state adoption of Subah’s digital mapping system

By: George Nyavor

 

The Parliamentary Select Committee on Lands and Forestry is pushing for the state to adopt Subah Infosolution’s National Digital Mapping and Addressing System.

Chairman of the Committee, Benito Owusu-Bio, believes the technology would solve the many land litigations that individuals and estate agents face.

“With the bold initiative that they [Subah] have taken by investing their own money into the project, it is laudable. With what I have seen, I wouldn’t be surprised if the government becomes interested and joins as a partner,” he told the press after a tour of Subah’s offices in Accra.

A delegation from the Committee was at the premises last week to familiarize themselves with the addressing system.

The system, currently at a pilot stage in Accra, when completed will provide a robust addressing infrastructure to the whole country, using state-of-the-art technology for a property, household, street and address information.

The National Digital Mapping and Property Addressing System will also provide address information to landmarks and facilities such as hospitals, places of worship among others.

The system has a satellite imagery of all 216 districts across the country.

Subah Parliament

The system is supported by a call centre that can interact with residents at a particular location in real time.

The project is an upgrade of the NaWabin Project, which was one of Subah’s nationwide collection of personal data to enable every household to be allocated a waste bin and collection periodically.

The waste bins that were distributed by Subah under the NaWabin project was not just ordinary bins but smart bins that made it possible for garbage vehicles to register the content of the bin and its disposal as well. When the bins are full a central system is able to capture that for effective and speedy waste disposal.

Speaking after the tour of Subah’s premises, Mr. Owusu-Bio said in a bid to end the challenges facing the land administration in Ghana it would be good for the government to fully support and buy into Subah’s system.

He, however, called for collaboration between Subah and sector agencies like the lands commission, local government authorities, MMDAs and the security services as that would increase the robustness of the system and make it more efficient.

 

Source: myjoyonline.com