I Was Almost Arrested For Stopping Illegal Chinese Miners – MP

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Manso Nkwanta, Joseph Albert Quarm has revealed that he was almost arrested for trying to stop some Chinese who were into illegal mining activities.

According to him, if anybody dares to go to any illegal Chinese mining site to stop their activities they will be arrested or worse because they are well guarded by soldiers and even if u report them to the authorities, nothing will be done about it.

Narrating his ordeal to Akwasi Boateng, host of ‘Maakye’ on Hot93.9 FM, Mr. Quarm stated that in his quest to stop these illegal Chinese miners, he was summoned to the police headquarters and as a result of this, these illegal miners feel they have the right to operate because no body will do anything to stop them.

He revealed that some large scale mining companies whom he refer to as “unpatriotic Ghanaians” are partly to blame for the rampant illegal mining activities popularly known as ‘galamsey’ in the country.

He said ” when these unpatriotic Ghanaians acquire their mining permits which is the recognisance and prospective licence to start their large scale mining, they then divide parts of their legally acquired concession into small scale mining and sell them to these Chinese illegal miners.”

Explaining further, he indicated that, “Each small scale mining is 25 aches of land and in all, they could get a total of about 100 small scale mining and when they sell each one to the Chinese from $50 to 100,000 per land, within four to six months, they [large-scale mining companies] gain about five million dollars because they do not pay tax thereby robbing the state”.

He backed the three weeks ultimatum given by the Minister of Lands and Natural resources John Peter Amewu to ‘galamsey’ operators to stop their activities or face the rigour of the law.

He has also urged the ministry to revoke the licence of “these nation wreckers” who are the large scale mining companies in order to do a thorough investigation on the sale of their permits to illegal miners since that will be the best place to start the course of abolishing ‘galamsey’ in Ghana.

This comes after experts at the Ghana Water Company warned of the country’s risk of importing water for consumption if illegal mining activities are not stopped.

Source: modernghana.com

Galamsey: Fighting The Undying Witch

By: Gordon Offin-Amaniampong

Gordon Offin-Amaniampong examines
What did our governments clamp down in the past and were able to sustain it?

Is it illegal logging by loggers? Is it squatters at Sodom and Gomorrah or those around Kwame Nkrumah Circle in Accra? Is it power cheaters who indulge in illegal power connection? Is it cocoa smuggling in our country’s borders by smugglers? Is it vigilante groups who’re constantly terrorising people? Is it the activities of land guards? Or is it middle-men who swindle prospective travelers trying to obtain passports?

The irony is that all of them have bounced back—operating vigorously. Their activities seemed emboldened! Inhabitants of Ghana’s biggest slum, Sodom and Gomorrah are back: They’re back to where city authorities evicted them from, less than two years ago. The squatters and hawkers are also back in the streets.

And the key argument hasn’t changed: they must earn their daily bread. The Kwame Nkrumah Interchange Area which not too long ago had a make-over is relapsing —going back to its ugly and insane state. In fact, on Wednesday some hawkers held placards amidst inscriptions like this: “We won’t leave this area today or tomorrow.”

The stubborn amongst them all is illegal mining operators also known as ‘Galamsey ‘in Ghana. Their activities in recent times have reached an alarming proportion. No doubt about that, they’ve stepped up their game. This followed the influx of the Chinese. I recall awhile back government deported number Chinese citizens who were in the country illegally.

Today, they’re back in their numbers. And together with Ghanaians they’re degrading and destroying our ecosystem. They’re poisoning and exterminating our water bodies. Our vegetation covers have been laid bare—raped and left naked.

They’re creating man-holes, producing sinkholes and setting up deathtraps. They’re as dangerous as explosive mines. Over the last 10 years it appears the operators have sworn an oath– basically to launch a deadly onslaught to our very existence.

Is this the land of our birth? Is this the land we swore to protect? Is this the land (the greenbelt) our forebears bequeathed us? Where did our leaders go? Where are they?

And whether it’s legal or illegal Galamsey has come to stay. That sounds crude or rather rude. But it’s the hard truth. Galamsey isn’t going anywhere at least not for now. Maybe not until the lands have run out of those much-sought-after minerals. Until the gourd is down empty or tanked the drunk knows no stop.

Backed by invisible hands they have succeeded in growing not an ordinary roots but giant roots, making it hard for authorities to deal with them.

But what is Illegal mining?
Writer Phillipe Dozolme defines illegal mining as: “The absence of land rights, mining licence, exploration or mineral transportation permit or of any document that could legitimise the on-going operations.”

It can be operated on the surface (open cast) or underground. It’s illegal because in most countries underground mineral resources belong to the state. The latter applies to Ghana too, but Galamsey has trespassed that. I must note there’d been crack downs on illegal mining in the past but all to no avail.

Question is: Are we at our wit end?
The Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amewu announced recently that he’d placed a moratorium on licences for small-scale mining. This is part of activities to halt illegal mining operation in the country. The move, the sector minister also indicated was to help ensure saneness in the environment.

”I have not signed a single small-scale-mining licence, since I assumed office. This is an attempt to sanitise the system,” Mr. Amewu said.

Indeed Ghana is fighting an undying witch. We‘ve picked up a fight which portends to be a lifetime battle. You may not like the way I’ve put it but that’s the reality on the ground. I normally don’t say things like that. I am a man full of hope, full of aspiration. I am an optimist and not pessimist.

Obviously, the conditions on the ground leaves one to wonder whether our governments had been waging these fights with kid’s gloves or they’d condoned and connived with the operators or they didn’t have long-term strategies or plans to do so. It could be that we’re at our wit end.

Remember the father who brought his demon-possessed son (Mark 9:14-29) to Jesus’ disciples to be healed? They’d no idea what to do and how to fight the demon. They lacked the firepower. Bottom-line they couldn’t do it. Jesus rebuked them after healing the boy.

I felt I had been wounded twice or three times this past few days. The images I saw—the photos and the videos on social media platforms grieved my heart. I couldn’t understand what’s going on. I struggled to make sense out of all that–the degrading state of our ecosystem is so graphic. It looks so atrocious so horrible and so terrible.

The activities of these miners are out of hand. Sad though, we have to come this far to realise that we’re losing or have lost something that is so precious. It’s so sad our leaders couldn’t stop it at its nascent stage. It seems to me it was business as usual and politics at its best. It seems to me they went to sleep whilst the busy bees got busy to degrade, to destroy tad to pillage that which our forebears fought graciously to possess and passed it on. And perhaps what‘s left now is misery and hopelessness.

World Bank report on Ghana had indicated, by the end of 1995 the total hectares of the land destroyed through the activities of Galamsey were approximately 150,000 hectares. That was then, over 20 years on the acclivities of illegal mining have picked up like never before .Thus your guess could be my best bet.

Between 1994 and 2001 a study discovered that there were five major cyanide spillages and leakages. Five rivers in the Prestea area in the western region of Ghana suffered greatly’.

Last March, Minister of Environment Science and Technology Dr. Frimpong Boateng kind of raised the threat level. Whilst meeting staff of the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) during a working a visit in Accra Dr. Boateng hinted that our water bodies were under siege. He said the country risk losing the very existence of these precious water bodies if radical steps are not taken to resuscitate their lives.

“We know that our rivers are dead, some of them …Some of the rivers are dead—Offin, Ankobra, Pra, Oda, there’s no fish in them, in most part of the rivers. And when you find animals and fish dying from our empty forests and dead rivers it is only a question of time that it will reach the human beings,” Dr. Boateng said.

According to the sector minister if we don’t change our negative practices we would literally kill these rivers prematurely. “We have to change our attitudes there must be a change like President Akufo-Addo said. We should not be spectators but be active participants.”

“If you look at what is happening to the environment, it is something like a self-inflicted injury

Certainly the danger has become imminent, so disturbing that if stringent measures are not taken we would end up as sore losers. The country that once boasted of its virgin forests, safe water bodies, rich soils, beautiful vegetation, and the picturesque landscape is gradually losing it all by the day. The ecological damage has been great.

Bittersweet
In Africa, Ghana is the second largest gold producer contributing to about 5.7 per cent of the country’s GDP. And the activities of illegal mining have tremendously contributed to the growth of the economy. The jobless youth have found jobs, crime rate has gone down. However the environmental impact of their activities is unparalleled. Galamsey depletes environmental resources such as water; soil, landscape, vegetation, the ecosystem among others.

Also lives had been lost over the period and we’re still losing lives. In November 2009 a collapsed occurred in an illegal mine in Dompoase in either Ashanti/Western region. At least 18 workers were killed including 13 women who worked as porters for the miners. A similar incident occurred at Kyekyewere near Dunkwa-on-Offin in the Central region.

Solution
Perhaps the solution to this cancerous problem rests in the bosom of the new administration’s ‘One-District-One-Factory across country mantra. It’s a long term project, but if implemented they would go a long to help bring the activities of illegal mining down. Remember, when there was Aboso Glass Factory, when there was Kumasi Jute Factory there was no Galamsey but there was gold. When there was Nsawam Cannery Factory, the Komenda Sugar Factory there was no Galamsey gold was there. When there was the Bonsa Tyre Factory, the Bolga Meat Factory and the Tomato Factory at Wenchi there was no Galamsey but there was gold.

As a people our problem has always been not providing alternative measures. And not being proactive but reactive. You don’t evict the Sodomites and the Gomorrahites if you haven’t made any provisions for them. Then when you provide the alternative, ensure the laws are implemented to the letter. That’s the way to go…Don’t blame me, if you can’t make the dogs bark and bite.

 

Source: modernghana.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

Stricter measures needed to address illegal sand mining – Frimpong Boateng

By: Jonas Nyabor, citifmonline.com

The Minister for Environment, Science, and Technology, Professor Frimpong-Boateng is advocating for stricter measures to address indiscriminate sand mining activities in Ghana.

According to him, the unlawful activities of sand miners is having a negative impact on the environment and believes that a robust plan is needed to stop the menace.

He told Citi News that, sand mining has to a large extent affected farming activities in many areas including the North Tongu constituency in the Volta Region. He also described the activity as being worse than illegal mining.

“Sand winning can be even worse than ‘galamsey’ because they can degrade a large short in land in short time because it goes very fast. So, if you go to areas like the north Tongu constituency you see a lot of degradation from sand winning. It has affected the farming activities when they grow the maize, pepper and so one which is very popular in the area, it does not do well,” he said.

The widespread activities of sand minners have compelled parliament to set up a five-member committee to investigate and make recommendations to fight the illegal activity but Professor Frimpong Boateng believes that a major way of tackling the situation is by issuing permits and putting in place effective regulation mechanisms to check the activities of the sand miners.

“They should be given the permit. Sand winning is like mining, they get the permit from the minerals commission… it is not the EPA,” he said.

The issuance of permit for sand winning in Ghana has long been accepted to regulate the activity, however, most people engaged in the business of sand winning do not follow the due procedure to do so.

In a separate interview, the Chairman of the National Association of Sand and Stoneworkers and Tipper Trucks Users (NasWottu), Peter Donkor called for decentralization of the process of permit issuance from Accra to all districts and also work to make the process less stressful.

In Ghana, the Mining and Minerals Act (act 703), regulates the activities of stone and sand winners.

It classifies sand and stone as major minerals and therefore subjects them to the same process of obtaining permits as it is done in the case of those who mine gold, diamond, bauxite and other precious minerals.

 

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

Obour, Richie, Others Join Fight Against Galamsey

Obour

Obour

President of the Musicians Union of Ghana (MUSIGA), Bice Osei Kuffuor, popularly known as Obuor, and other players in Ghana’s entertainment industry, including Richie Mensah of Lynx Entertainment, have joined the fight against illegal mining activities in the country.

The artistes and a local non-governmental organisation, A-Rocha Ghana, have partnered to undertake advocacy and education activities in local mining communities under a project dubbed ‘Save Atiwa Forest’.

The Atiwa forest is a mineral rich forest reserve in Ghana with deposits of gold and bauxite in commercial quantity.

In recent times, the forest has suffered various activities of illegal mining and cutting of timber which has destroyed the natural forest and affected the Densu, Ayensu and Birim rivers.

The involvement of the entertainers to the project is to educate the general public on the need to maintain and preserve the natural forest.

Speaking to Citi News, Obour expressed regret at the alarming rate at which the Atiwa forest was being depleted.

“It is really disheartening when you look at the mess which is created by the activities of illegal galamsey and chainsaw operators in this country. They mine the lands, fell trees and sometimes even set fire on portions of the land where the hunt and farm, and these activities are depleting the forest. It is high time we all came on board as ambassadors to add our voices to help save and preserve the rich natural Atiwa forest. I believe if we do not act now, it will be too late,” Obour stated.

He added that the group would lobby to get the government to pass a legislation to make the Atiwa forest a national park as a measure to help protect the forest.

Other musicians supporting the project include Nero X, Sherifa Gunu and the Patch Bay Band. The group will visit some galamsey sites and interact with the miners. They will also camp at the Atiwa forest to take inspiration from the natural environment and compose series of songs for the campaign.

 

Source: modernghana.com

 

 

 

 

Sadly, The 2017 Budget Statement Didn’t Mention Galamsey Even Once!

 

 

By: Cameron Duodu

The 2017 budget statement read to Parliament and the nation by the Finance Minister, Mr Ken Ofori Atta, on 02 March 2017 can be described as a a very competent and optimistic one.

It was also very transparent. It gave a clear balance of payments position, without obliging us to go through many Tables to find it. The balance of payments is in this state (the Minister said):

QUOTE: “The balance of payments (BOP) turned surplus for the first time since 2011, due to [an] improved current account balance. Accordingly, there was a build-up in gross foreign assets, which supported the relative stability in the exchange rate.

The BOP surplus was US$247 million, compared to a deficit of US$129 million in 2015. The trade balance improved from a deficit of US$3.1bn in 2015 to a deficit of US$1.7bn in 2016, due to increased export receipts (by 7.2 percent) and a decline in imports (by 5.3 percent.)

The gross foreign assets at the end of December was estimated at US$6,161.80 million, from US$5,884.70 million at the end of December 2015, representing a build-up of US$277.07 million. This was sufficient to provide cover for 3.5 months of imports of goods and services, same as in December 2015.” UNQUOTE

I am impressed that the Minister did not seek to hide our relatively good external account situation in Tables in the appendix to the Budget Statement (since the figures reflect rather well on the John Mahama administration’s effort to bring the economy under control in 2016.) I hope the Minister will continue with this policy of being honest about the economy. You can’t quite hide an economy, yet some Finance Ministers foolishly pretend that they can “talk up” an economy even as it totters to the ground.

The Minister’s tax reductions were also a good sign that he has his ears to the ground. No wonder he is being serenaded in the markets by the Kayayei. I wouldn’t like to be in the position of his wife, at this rate!)

I was also impressed by the Minister’s willingness to share with the nation, certain figures that, hitherto, have tended to reside mainly in the vaults of the finance ministry and the Bank of Ghana.

The Minister revealed that:
QUOTE: “In 2016, GNPC lifted …. 5,856,921 barrels of oil (4,860,462 barrels of Jubilee oil and 996,459 barrels of TEN oil). Receipts from crude oil liftings ….amounted to US$207.79 million (GHȻ811.68 million). The proceeds from the 35th Jubilee and 1st TEN liftings in December 2016 were received in the first quarter of 2017. …. [However] actual petroleum receipts for 2016 fell short of the 2015 performance by 29.1 percent.” UNQUOTE

Figures of this nature should help to create optimism in the populace. We are getting this oil money at a time when oil prices are low on the international market. If and when oil prices improve, we most certainly can look forward to walking tall again. Even if we are only able to produce enough petroleum to meet our local needs, we should count ourselves lucky, for expenditure on petroleum imports is one of the driving forces of our decline into poverty as a nation.

.
The Minister also – very commendably – told us the situation with regard to the prices we can expect from two of our main exports – cocoa and gold. This is something that has not been prominently depicted in official statements on the economy in recent years. The Minister said:

QUOTE: “Gold prices are expected to decline from an average of US$1,249 per fine ounce in 2016 to US$1,219 in 2017, due largely to an expected strengthening of the US dollar. According to the Commodity Markets Outlook by the World Bank, [the] cocoa price is projected to average about US$2,940 per tonne in 2017– up from US$2,850 in 2016.UNQUOTE

Of course, the cocoa farmers will be entitled to demand that the greater part of the slightly less than $100 per tonne increase in the world price will be passed on to them. In this connection, I would like to draw the Minister’s attention to the fact that the Ghana Cocobod spends far too much of our earnings from cocoa on just administering the exportation of the crop.

The way the Cocobod borrows heavily from external sources to buy the crop each year is also not in the best interests of the country. The loans attract a relatively high interest rate at a time when interest rates are very low the world over. Some Ghanaians suspect that the loans, in fact, do bring a lot of “commissions” to the “Yennkye nni” [Let’s share it and eat!] lot who arrange them.

Maybe the Government should, in fact, carry out a thorough review/ audit of the Cocobod’s operations. This has been left undone for years, because, fear that the Board might perform badly if it is interfered with, has made successive Governments leave the Cocobod virtually untouchable, although we all know that untouchability is a dangerous lever to corruption in a conscienceless society like ours.

Indeed, the time has come for the Government to examine the very raison d’etre of the Cocobod.

Why should we maintain a Cocobod that was established by the colonial Government in 1947 for its own nefarious purposes? Given the huge overhead costs that the Board recoups from the “operation allowance” given to it by the Government from our earnings from cocoa exports, is the Cocobod truly cost-effective?

Beyond that is the question of doing justice to the cocoa farmer. Fishermen sell their catch themselves through the open market. So do plantain farmers, cassava farmers, citrus and pine-apple farmers, and other agricultural producers.No marketing board intereferes with their operarions. So why should cocoa farmers alone be singled out and be made to serve as the unacknowledgedlabourers of the Cocobod (and by implication, the Government?)

The inherited system is convenient to the Government, to be sure, but an injustice cannot be perpetuated because its imposition was convenient to the dictator who imposed it. With modern data systems in existence that are capable of capturing sales, the main argument that the Government cannot collect taxes from cocoa farmers unless the Cocobod, a Government agency, sells their crop, is untenable and extremely backward. Can you see the German Government selling BMW and Mercedes cars for the manufacturers because they pay such huge taxes and the Government wants to take it at source? Or the French Government selling wine for the producers?

“FREE THE COCOA FARMER” I say to the Government. Otherwise its claim to be a liberal, business-friendly” Government, will be just hypocritical hot air.

The ECOWAS Common External Tariff system, which Ghana has joined, will (the Government recognises) be a “a major platform for the establishment of [a] Customs Union… and help address problems such as cross-border smuggling and dumping in the sub-region”. Surely, the elimination of smuggling should serve as a further incentive for the Government to allow cocoa farmers to sell their own crop?

“Change has come!” NPP followers believe. The Government says it’s in a hurry to transmit the effects of that change to the ordinary people. It should therefore not waste any time in turning the “change” into reality for our cocoa farmers.

Another aspect of the budget that disappointed me was the Minister’s inability to even outline or highlight the steps the Government plans to take to fight our biggest national calamity of the moment – galamsey.

If the Government as a whole does not make the anti-galamsey crusade its major plank, it will wake up one day to find that all our water-bodies are dead and that whatever social changes it seeks to bring to the rural areas – such as”one district one factory” – will be dead in the muddy-water, so to speak, and be still-born.

You just cannot mess about with your people’s drinking water. Mr Ken Ofori Atta mentioned his own pedigree, and that of his boss, President Akufo Addo, in his introduction to the budget statement. That pedigree carries a message back to them, namely, that the River Birem, which nurtured them when they were babies, must not be allowed to die. Right now, it is in its death-throes and crying out – like the Prah, the Offin, the Oti, the Tanoh, the Densu and many other rivers in Ghana — Grand-children of the Oforipanin Stool, now that you have got power, do not turn a deaf ear to the cries of agony of your country’s Sacred Rivers! If YOU of all people close your ears to our cries, to whom shall we turn next?” Would Danquah allow it? Would Paa willy allow it? Would Barfuor Osei Akoto allow it?

As the Twi proverb has it, “Na asem se ber!” (A word to the wise is enough).

 

Source: modernghana.com

‘$250 Million Required To Reclaim Lands And Water Bodies Destroyed By Galamsey’

 

An estimated $250 million is required to reclaim lands and water bodies affected by illegal mining (galamsey) activities in the Western Region, the International Growth Centre (IGC) has said.

A study conducted by the IGC, an organisation that documents galamsey operations and their environmental impacts, said the amount was a testament to the massive destruction galamsey was causing to the environment.

Details of the study, which was disclosed at a public forum organised by the IGC in Accra last Tuesday, showed that illegal mining was undertaken in various forms.

It was on the theme: “The Footprints of Galamsey in Ghana: The Western Region under the Microscope.”

In a speech read on his behalf by a former Member of Parliament for Bantama, Mr Henry Kokofu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr John Peter Amewu, said the ministry had instituted measures to curtail illegal small-scale mining activities, which includes the enforcement of laws and regulations guiding operations in the mining sector.

Measures
The minister stated that there would also be institutional collaboration among regulatory agencies, small-scale miners’ association, and civil society organisations (CSO’s) to drive sensitisation programmes against galamsey.

“Government is also considering the option of employing a software that is capable of tracking the movement of earth moving equipment used in illegal mining and the possibility of utilising drone technology to track the activities of illegal miners,” he said.

The minister stated that other measures and interventions that would come out of the forum would go a long way to help cure the canker associated with the mining environment.

Research findings
According to one of the researchers, Dr Jones Nantey of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the research showed that Ghana could import water in the near future if action is not taken to save the rivers from further pollution through illegal mining.

He lamented over situations where some farmers sold their farms for “small money” to illegal miners and said the practice denied such farmers their livelihoods in future.

Dr Nantey said apart from the fact that the people involved in galamsey were causing environmental hazard, the business was also having negative effects on the economy since the operators did not pay taxes to the government.

“If only we knew the kind of revenue this illegal people make. It is rather unfortunate they deal with the black market and don’t pay tax, which is another offence on its own”, he said.

The Chief of Sakubasi in the Eastern Region, Osabarima Asiedu Boafo II, charged the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources and other stakeholders to combat illegal mining in the country to preserve land and water bodies for future generations.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Open letter to chiefs in ‘galamsey’

 

Dear Nananom,
You are deemed powerful and influential in many facets of our lives. You have, and continue to be the face of tradition whenever our culture is mentioned. You are the ones we resort to for wisdom when political systems appear to fail us. It is you we run to, when family matters seem unsolvable.

In fact, our heritage glitters to the world when you adorn yourselves in that colourful Kente cloth, necklaces, bracelets and other rich regalia.

Nananom, simply put, you are the unifiers of the spirit and soul our ancestors left to keep.

But Nananom, some of you in the last few decades have shown, by your decrees and actions that you are disappointing.

Some of you have disgraced yourselves and the very thrones you sit on. You have brought into disrepute the thrones your forefathers spilled bloods to pave way for your occupancy today. Some of you have brought into question, the dignity, the respect and the honor our tradition has long enjoyed.

It is regrettable to see many of you in the Western, Ashanti and Eastern regions engaging and defending ‘galamsey’ [Illegal mining] silently. Some of you own Changfans used to pollute ancestral rivers your grandparents guarded jealously.

For those of you Nananom involved in this, whichever way you look at galamsey, its negative and long term effects are damaging than the short-term happiness you pursue.

I just don’t get it! It is from you we heard for the start that “nsu a nsu, nsa a nsa”. [If it is water, let it be, if it is alcohol, let it be].

But let me respectfully ask, Nananom that, can drops of water from Pra, Ankobra, Tano or Birim; rivers of old, be used to perform these naming ceremonies these days?

It is shocking all this while that some of you have been accused by political figures that you are involved in the practice, no chief across the country has taken the bold step forward to amass support to end it. It is very shocking!

National House of Chiefs; please be concerned. Be concerned because many of your members in these three regions are fast losing the respect of the middle class and their very own local subjects.

When your subjects go wayward, see how you unleash traditional punitive measures to correct them! Why is it so hard for the National House of Chiefs to clean its house when some of its members are involved in activities that threaten the very people from whom they draw their powers?

Another thing! Is it not a shame that water pots in your chambers are now filled with sachet water? Your ancestors use to fill their pots from the riverside. The cool rivers that your ancestors used to fetch water while in their farms have been polluted.

Your ancestors knew some of the major rivers have alluvial gold in them. But did they choose their personal interest over their people? Absolutely not! They knew the over 2,000 communities dotted around major rivers depend on them for everyday well-being.

Nananom, take a tour, for example, to the Daboase Water Treatment Plant and see for yourselves whether you will drink tap water again if you return.

Go and see the turbid yellowish raw water that end in your kitchens at home and see if you will be convinced to take it. It’s very disappointing Nananom.

The Changfans and excavators you have bought just like the politicians and other businessmen, and have given them to desperate unemployed youth to head into cocoa farms and river bodies are open to Nana Nyame [God].

We have heard of those of you too who demand that ‘galamseyers’ visit your palaces and pay monies to you before you give them the go ahead.

Nananom, will you be men enough to stand tall to your predecessors should they wake up today to question your deeds? Hmm!

Finally Nananom, please stop facilitating foreigners and other people from mining in the Upper Wassa, Fure River and the Tonton Forest Reserves in the Western Region.

As we speak, the Forestry Commission and the Minerals Commission have given permission to people to prospect for gold in these reserves.

Question: When the gold is found in commercial quantities, will the forest reserve be depleted because of the gold?

Must we mine gold no matter where it is found? How many of the reserves have been added by the present generation to warrant taking down the previous?

God is watching us all, and he speaks of destroying those who destroy the earth at Revelation 11:18. Read it!

Nananom, I respect tradition and people who stand for it. Forgive your son if you find my submissions offensive. Those of you who are not involved, please get your colleagues to stop it OK? It’s not good.

For some traditional heads to be losing their respect because of these things, it will be disappointing if tradition collapses under your watch. Thank you.

Your son,
Obrempong Yaw Ampofo/citifmonline.com/Ghana
Email: walkerjazzy23@gmail.com

 

Source: modernghana.com

Community members arrested for resisting illegal Chinese miners

By: Obrempong Yaw Ampofo, citifmonline.com

 

A task-force made up of police and military have arrested and allegedly molested over 30 community members at Sefwi Mafia, a farming community in the Sefwi Juabeso district of the Western Region for protesting against the invasion of Chinese illegal miners on their farms and river bodies.

The police, who are said to have carried the raid at about 2:00am Tuesday [February 21, 2017], also arrested children of school-going age.

Speaking to Citi News, a former Assembly Member for the Sefwi Mafia Electoral Area, Stephen Anobil, narrated that “Chinese miners invaded our community about a week ago. They went to our cocoa farms without permission and started digging them out. They then headed into the only stream serving as the source of drinking water for the community. When we realized; they were brought into the community by our chief Nana Sanfo II, we insisted the illegal miners leave our farms.”

“That ended up in a scuffle between the illegal miners and community members. In the process, an excavator belonging to the Chinese was burnt down. That has happened about a week ago until last night about 2:00am; when we heard people running helter-skelter. When we checked, it was the joint force that was arresting people who are alleged to have resisted the Chinese illegal miners”.

He continued that “they come to your door, ask you to open. If you fail, they use teargas to force you out. They then beat and force you into their car. They beat everyone including women and children”.

Stephen Anobil also said that “a woman who was asleep with his son was forced out naked. When she told them her husband has travelled, they forcefully entered her room and ransacked her bags. His son was also beaten to the point that I have to take him to a nearby clinic for attention this morning.”

He concluded that “as we speak, our community is empty. All others have run away into the bush.”

Those arrested have been taken to the Sefwi Asawinso Police Command for interrogation.

 

Source: modernghana.com