Some campaigners raising placards to preach against galamsey.
MINISTER OF Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu has indicated that the three-week ultimatum issued to illegal miners to halt their activities, has paid off greatly, saying about 200 excavators had so far pulled out of galamsey sites nationwide.
The news came as government launch a special initiative dubbed the Multilateral Mining Integration Project (MMIP), a partnership arrangement between the Minerals Commission of Ghana, and the sector ministry.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign at Kwahu Mpraeso on Saturday, April 14, this year, Mr. Amewu said “I am extremely excited today to announce to you that the three weeks ultimatum we’ve given is working, we have results. So far, over 76 excavators, according to the records I have, have moved from the Western Region, 26 have migrated from the Eastern Region, this is a good indication that these excavators have been moved from the forests.” The launch was held under the theme: “No To Galamsey.”
The New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration has decided to clamp down on illegal mining as the dire consequences of ‘galamsey’ stares Ghana in the face, with experts at the Ghana Water Company warning that if the activities were not stopped, the country could risk importing water in the near future.
Some Ghanaians and their foreign counterparts, especially Chinese and Indians were reportedly the perpetrators of the illegal mining activities nationwide; invading every community, forest, river bodies in a desperate search for gold.
In some instances, the Chinese and Indians who were reportedly the major beneficiaries of the illegal mining activities, have allegedly adopted fraudulent means of evading taxes by reportedly smuggling the commodity to neighboring Togo before exporting it to Dubai and other countries.
But Mr. Amewu warned that if the illegal miners do not halt their activities, government shall adopt a “militant approach.”
He made it clear that the government was not against Ghanaians engaged in small scale mining so far as they do so in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner.
“What we are against is those who are mining in river bodies, those who are digging down the river beds, that one cannot be allowed, as a country, as a government; as Ghanaians we cannot continue allowing people to destroy our river bodies, destroy our forests, destroy our lands,” he said.
“Through the Minerals Commission, the Ministry is going to deploy the use of drones to monitor galamsey sites.”
Already, the Commission has awarded on contract vast acreages of areas which shall be allocated to small scale miners, he said.
“The good thing about this approach is that they will no longer go looking for gold by digging anywhere, the Commission will look for areas that are prospective and bring all of you together to work,” he added.
BY Melvin Tarlue