Chief suspends mining activities in Talensi traditional area

By: Frederick Awuni, citifmonline.com

 

The Paramount Chief of the Talensi Traditional Area, Tongoraan Kugbilsong Nanlebegtang, has suspended all forms of mining both licensed and unlicensed from operating in the Talensi traditional area with immediate effect until further notice.

He has also cautioned all chiefs and landowners(Tindaanas) within the traditional area, not to lease out lands for any mining activity without the approval of the Talensi traditional council.

This decision according to Tongoraa, is to allow for comprehensive investigations into all mining activities in Gbane in order to curb the precarious mining practices that have led to the loss of lives and environmental degradation.

“We the Talensi traditional council have extended the temporary ban beyond the Shaanxi Ghana Mining company limited to cover all licensed and illegal miners in Gbane. We are doing it through the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources John Peter Amemu, the Minerals Commission and the Upper East Regional Police command…”

Addressing a press conference at his palace in Tongo, Tongoraan Kulgbilsong Nanlebegtang said the perilous nature of mining in the area has not only polluted water bodies and destroyed farm lands, but the use of mercury and cyanide by the miners also has a serious effect on humans and the soil water.

“The top soil of farms in the area have been destroyed by graders and bulldozers. There is so much degradation of the land and water such that if it is not stopped now, future generations will curse us for not catering for them.”

The Tongraan blamed the Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency for failing the fight against Galamsey in the area.

“The Minerals Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have not been able to effectively play their roles as regulators and policing agencies collectively to curb Galamsey destruction of farm lands and water bodies within the mining areas,” he said.

The Minerals Commission has approved over 30 small scale miners in the Talensi traditional area.

“The situation has led to an increase in land boundary disputes and the incessant deaths of over 100 young people through collapsed pits and explosive toxic chemicals since 2006,” the Tongraan stated.

Tongraan Kugbilsong Nanlebetang also disclosed that, the Minerals Commission has never involved the Talensi traditional council before issuing permits or licenses to mining companies operating in the area.

Gov’t suspends Chinese mining firm’s operations in Talensi 

This comes after the government temporarily suspended the operations of Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company Limited operating at Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

According to a letter signed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, the suspension is to allow for thorough investigations into the company’s underground operations, and the alleged death of about seven miners in the area.

 

Source: modernghana.com

GAF Is Not Involved In ‘Galamsey’

 

On Friday 5 May 2017, the Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) monitored Joy FM’s Super Morning Show during which the host, Kojo Yankson and some panelists discussed a reported confidential National Security document which was supposedly intercepted by a Reporter, Raymond Acquah, alleging the involvement of GAF in illegal mining activities (galamsey) at Banda Nkwanta in the general area of the Bui Dam.

GAF wishes to express its utter dismay at the judgment and conclusions drawn by panelists on the morning show as well as subsequent news reports, without seeking the position of GAF on the matter before going ahead to discredit the military in its entirety. Indeed, contrary to what was alleged in the reportage, the GAF was never invited to participate in the forum and to state its position.

It is common knowledge that GAF does not seek to engage in self publicity. However, in the wake of the said panelists’ discussions and the impression the Joy FM report sought to create, it has become imperative to clarify the position of GAF.

As part of its Internal Security operations in support of civil authorities, GAF personnel are deployed across the country to perform numerous operational roles in order to safeguard the integrity and security of the state and to preserve the environment. Some of these personnel deployed under ‘OPERATION HALT’ are tasked to support efforts at curbing illegal mining activities and to provide security at state-sanctioned mining sites and concessions to ward off illegal miners, robbery attacks and encroachment.

In this regard, GAF has officially deployed personnel at Anglogold Ashanti mining sites and concessions. Under the same guiding principle of providing security to enhance socio-economic activities, such support could be extended to certified corporate bodies which require assistance. Examples include protection of the mining concessions of the Canada-Ghana Mining Company whose property worth thousands of dollars was vandalized at Sraha in the Wassa Amenfi District.

In the case of the personnel deployed at Banda Nkwanta as reported by Joy FM, GAF wishes to state categorically that these personnel are deployed to check illegal fishing, lumbering, pollution and other activities that are deemed detrimental to the smooth operations of the Bui Dam. Therefore, the assertion that GAF has deployed personnel to provide security at an illegal mining concession at Banda Nkwanta or to superintend over illegal mining is completely erroneous.

The commitment of GAF in enforcing the directives and ultimatum to halt ‘galamsey’ operations is demonstrated in the resolve of the Military High Command to deal with both perpetrators and collaborators. For example, where service personnel have been identified or arrested for assisting or engaging in any activity or unauthorized operations in relation to illegal mining, they have been dealt with in accordance with the applicable Armed Forces Regulations. On 28 March 2017 three ex-service men dressed in assorted military uniforms were picked up by a military patrol team for extortion and other activities in relation to illegal small scale mining at Wassa Akropong. The ex-service men were handed over to the civil police for further investigations and prosecution.

The Military High Command does not condone any acts of indiscipline involving its personnel but it is worth stating it is not always that our internal disciplinary measures are brought into the public domain. However, every misdemeanor that prejudices our service code of discipline is promptly investigated and dealt with. In this regard, the Military High Command will be happy to receive any evidence of misconduct for immediate action.

GAF further wishes to state that it is wholly in support and involved in all the strategies designed at halting illegal mining in the country. Indeed, the GAF has contributed positively in crafting anti-galamsey plans. GAF also acknowledges the vital role being played by the Media Coalition Against Galamsey. However, in order not to undermine or discredit the important roles of a major stakeholder, like GAF, in the fight against galamsey, it is very important that media houses cross check their facts with GAF or other institutions for clarifications on any reports before going public.

On the confidential National Security report allegedly intercepted by the Reporter, it must be placed on record that GAF is yet to receive any such report and therefore is unable to comment directly on it at this material time.

E AGGREY-QUASHIE
Colonel
Director Public Relations

 

Source: Peace Fm online

Catholic Father Fights Galamsey

By:  Sarah Afful, Jukwa

The priest in-charge of Jukwa Krobo Grotto Catholic Archdiocese of Cape Coast in the Central Region, Rev. Fr. David Obeng Paintsil, has stressed the need for all Christians and Muslims of good will in the country to offer prayers on the first Sunday and first Friday of every month respectively to end illegal mining popularly known as galamsey.

According to him, the government, the media and civil society cannot succeed in this campaign without prayers.

He indicated that the situation at hand is so complex that human efforts are not enough to combat it.

Rev Fr Paintsil made this observation at a press conference held in the area.

He stressed the need for all to pray for divine intervention to touch the hearts of both the big and ordinary men behind the business that has dire consequences on the environment and life.

“This would also give the government and the media the will power and the spirit of perseverance to end the canker as well as give spiritual protection to all who were involved in this campaign, especially the sector minister and the media,” he said.

Rev Fr Paintsil entreated pastors and Imams to educate the youth on the hazards of the galamsey menace, and the effect of illegal mining activities in the country.

He noted that the government would get a lasting and sustainable solution to this national problem if people make up their minds to help save the lands and water bodies for the sake of posterity.

“This current state of the galamsey menace has depleted the hitherto rich farming lands and water bodies and one can no longer rely on the natural rivers for water consumption since they have been poisoned by dangerous chemicals from the activities of galamsey,” he lamented.

The priest added that there had been several attempts by successive governments and civil society organizations to deal with the menace in various ways but all such attempts landed on rocks.

Rev Fr Paintsil noted that the current campaign launched by the media and the government is in the right direction.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Anti-Galamsey Task Force Hits Road

By: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi

 

Some members of the anti-Galamsey taskforce during the swearing in ceremony

From all indications illegal mining, also known as ‘galamsey,’ would end once-and-for-all in the Ashanti Region following the inauguration of a 15-member taskforce.

The move is to support government’s fight against illegal mining to forestall the destruction of the environment.

The Ashanti Regional Chapter of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners formed the taskforce made up of energetic men.

The taskforce has been charged to monitor the activities of illegal miners in the region.

The small-scale miners, who have declared war on illegal mining, have started another project christened ‘Operation Cover 2 Acres.’

Under the project, each member of the association would reclaim at least two acres of land destroyed through ‘galamsey’ in their catchment area.

Frank Osei, interim executive member of the association, stated that his outfit was determined to support government to effectively tackle illegal mining.

He observed that illegal mining activities rapidly destroy the environment, urging all small-scale miners to join the fight against the menace.

According to him, their open fight against illegal mining is to show to government that small-scale miners abhor ‘galamsey.’

Mr. Osei expressed hope that within the next three months, the taskforce would help reclaim vast lands damaged by the illegal miners.

He noted that the taskforce would officially work with the various assemblies in the region.

Mr. Osei also commended President Akufo-Addo’s decision to stop illegal mining in the country and urged all and sundry to support him.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Gov’t suspends Chinese mining firm’s operations in Talensi

By: Fredrick Awuni, citifmonline.com

The government has temporarily suspended the operations of Shaanxi Ghana Mining Company Limited operating in Gbane in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

According to a letter signed by the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, the suspension is to allow for thorough investigations into the company’s underground operations, and the alleged death of about seven miners in the area.

As a result, 500 permanent workers of the company have been asked to go home until further notice, while 52 workers are currently ensuring care and maintenance of the company’s mining shafts.

Speaking to Citi News in Gbane, the frustrated employees described the decision by the sector minister as unfair, cautioning the joblessness may led to social vices in the area.

An employee, Elizabeth Yinnama, said, “we are  appealing to government to come to our aid, if not when we will go back to our various homes, and we may turn to armed robbery because going home, I don’t think I can survive because I don’t have anything to do; but the Galamsey workers are not helping anyone in this community.”

Miss Salina Amaze, a geologist also sided with the employees, saying “workers of Shaanxi cannot allow Galamsey intruders to let government close down the company, it will affect me and my colleagues.”

But at a press conference in Gbane, Shaanxi mining company’s Underground Mine Manager, Thomas Tii Yenzanya, said even though they have complied with the minister’s directive, efforts should be put in place to protect their shafts  from being exploited by the Galamsey miners pending the outcome of the investigations.

Mr. Yenzanya said all mining operations of the company have been suspended except for care and maintenance works.

“There will be loss of production, there will be more intrusion into the area by the illegal miners because they will be mining underground chopping the pillars, stealing the gold ore and probably destroying our equipment but it’s a directive.”

Shaanxi Mining Company Reacts to Allegations

Citi News can confirm that, the Yenyeya and Pubortaaba small scale mining groups for which Shaanxi mining company is rendering support mining services to, were licensed on the 7th January 2007 and 9th October 2009 respectively by the Inspectorate Division of the Minerals commission of Ghana.

Underground Mine Manager of Shaanxi mining company, Mr. Yenzanya provided documentation for the payments of employees’ SSNIT up to April, 2017.

He indicated that, the company has fulfilled its tax and royalties obligation since its operations with enormous corporate social responsibility projects ranging from boreholes, schools, bridges and scholarships for needy but brilliant students in the area.

Mr. Yenzanga denied allegations that, the company’s blasting takes place unannounced, adding that, blasting time is between 10:00 pm to 12:00 am. He also added that, workers were sacked following due processes.

Meanwhile, investigations have commenced into the circumstances that led to the deaths of about seven illegal miners who were reported to have been trapped by smoke from one of the Shaanxi mining shafts on the 7th of April 2017.

 

Source: modernghana.com

Chinese gov’t is backing galamsey fight – Lands Minister

By: Austin Brako-Powers , Myjoyonline.com

Lands and Natural Resources Minister, John Peter Amewu says the Chinese government is in full support of Ghana’s efforts to end illegal mining known as galamsey.

He said the Xi Jinping government has given its backing for punitive measures to be meted out to Chinese nationals who are caught engaging in illegal mining in Ghana.

Speaking at Joy FM’s Thought Leadership dialogue on galamsey Friday, Mr Amewu said the President Akufo-Addo government will continue to collaborate with civil society groups to clamp down on the practice.

Chinese President Xi Jinping
The anti-galamsey campaign has been gathering momentum days after the Lands Ministry’s three-weeks ultimatum served miners to end their activities elapsed.

As part of activities to consolidate gains made since the start of the campaign in February 2017, the Lands Minister has been leading a delegation of mine officials to tour some illegal mining sites.

Some galamseyers at work
Available data at the Lands Ministry reveals a total of about 500 excavators used for illegal mining have been handed over to government by some of the operators.

The campaign was triggered by the destruction caused Ghana’s water bodies and forest reserves through galamsey activities. The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region, that serves several communities, has dried up for the first time in 40 years.

Some Ghanaians and their Chinese counterparts mining in the River Ankobrah in Western Region

The Brim and Densu Rivers in the Eastern Region and Ankobrah River in the Western Region have been muddied to an extent that experts have estimated it will cost more money for them to be treated for consumption.

Information available indicates some of the people found to be engaging in the practice are Ghanaians and Chinese. At least five Chinese and their Ghanaian counterparts are standing trial for mining in the Ankobrah River in the Western Region.

The five Chinese standing trial for allegedly mining in the Ankobrah River

The Chinese community in Ghana has expressed dissatisfaction with media reportage on galamsey, saying its people are being unfairly targeted.

In a letter to the Lands Ministry, officials of the Chinese mission said the campaign against galamsey could hamper bilateral relationship between the two countries if attacks on its citizens are not stopped.

The Lands Minister inspecting extent of damage to one of Ghana’s water bodies

In the heat of the campaign, reports were rife that the Chinese government has directed its Immigration Department to unfairly scrutinise travelling documents of Ghanaian businessmen and women at their airports because of the galamsey clamp down.

But the Lands Minister said President Akufo-Addo has communicated with Chinese President, Xi Jinping over the anti-galamsey activities and he has given his support.

A miner caught mining in the Western Region
“The Chinese government totally agrees with the government that any foreigner that misbehaves, they have [to be dealt with],” Mr Amewu said.

The Minister advised the media to exercise circumspection in their reportage since any Chinese accosted for engaging in illegal mining is an individual and not their government. “We should be careful,” he cautioned.

“We will continue to chase recalcitrant people who will not conform to sustainable environmental mining,” he warned.

 

Source: modernghana.com

‘Illegal miners’ set to return to sites for reclamation efforts

By: Nathan Gadugah, Myjoyonline.com

 

llegal galamsey miners are set to return to site not to deplete and pollute the environment but to work towards reclaiming areas devastated by the illegal mining activity.

According to the Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu, his outfit will vigorously engage the illegal miners in a desperate bid to repair the lands destroyed by galamsey.

The illegal mining activities across the country have come to a halt at least for now following a massive joint anti-galamsey campaign by the government and the media.

Shortly after being appointed into office, the Minister gave a three week ultimatum to all illegal miners to halt their activities or face the consequences.

A good number of the miners are reported to have abandoned the sites and left behind huge excavators which have subsequently been taken over by the government.

Speaking at the Joy FM’s Thought Leadership programme on galamsey, John Peter Amewu said the government is resolved to fighting the canker that has destroyed many of the country’s water bodies and threatening the very existence of citizens.

River polluted by galamsey
It is believed Ghana may soon be importing water into the country if the galamsey menace is not resolved.

Already the forest reserve and farm lands have been destroyed completely as a result of the illegal mining activity.

The sector minister said his outfit will be fighting the canker on three main pillars including law enforcement and the use of technology.

He said in using the drone as the key technological application, the ministry will identify all the concessions and their owners and will monitor ever single activity of those owners.

Mr Amewu said not only will the task force be used to prevent the miners from returning to the sites, but the miners will be engaged to help in reclaiming the lands they have polluted.

The minister further stated, that government will no longer leave the prospecting of gold and other minerals in the hands of small scale miners but government will lead the way to ensure whatever mining activity is done is according to law.

But members of the small scale miners are not happy with the actions of the sector minister.

One of the representatives of the small scale mining association who was present at the Thought Leadership programme said they have not engaged at all by the minister.

He does not see how the minister wants them to buy into reclamation effort when they have not been consulted.

 

Source: modernghana.com

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