There have been many calls on the President to lift the ban on small mining activities and when these reached a crescendo the whole thing looked like there was no genuine reason for the action.
The extractive industry is one area which requires regulation, the absence of which would definitely lead to the galamsey phenomenon which has led to this state of degraded environment and water bodies in gold-bearing areas of the country.
Until the ban, we lived in a state of unregulated mining activities by persons who understood next to nothing about the effects of their occupation on the environment.
With the restoration of the natural state of our water bodies from their contaminated condition, we all can now appreciate the importance of the action of the President.
It was a rare intervention and even when the decibels from the anti-ban groups neared deafening pitch, the President stayed his course – a leadership quality which is needed under such critical conditions. Other leaders would have succumbed to the consistent pressure and even threats.
A leader leads his people with conviction ready to take responsibility for whatever action he takes.
But for the ban and the steady course of the President, it could have only been imagined where the state of our water bodies would have been today.
To ban such activities without a return plan would be restoring the previous order or even opening the floodgates for a massive degradation of the environment on a scale never known to us. With the yet-to-be tamed Chinese illegal miners waiting on the fringes, a ban lift without a schedule of regulations would have inflicted a deeper scar on the environment.
The snippets from the committee charged with managing the post-ban strategies are heartwarming. We have been told about an elaborate plan to manage this aspect of the exercise so at any given time the relevant agency would have a register of those engaged in small scale mining.
A mere announcement in the media lifting the ban cannot pass for a sensible thing to do under the circumstances.
The training of those interested in returning to the small scale mining activities at UMAS, Tarkwa and the elaborate plans to ensure the orderly exploitation of the gold-bearing land is a mark of orderliness and efforts to ensure that the old order does not return.
We observed the malicious spreading of falsehood about government’s intention regarding small scale mining and challenge those behind it to offer an alternative arrangement in the face of the massive degradation of the environment.
When the ban is eventually lifted alongside the rolling out of the strategies to obviate destruction of our rivers and land, the President Akufo-Addo led government would earn the accolade of the ‘most effective government yet in visiting an effective response to the challenges posed by small scale miners.
The illegal activities of small scale mining has left deep scars on the country’s environment whose restoration demands a holistic approach which is what we shall see when the package for regulating the occupation is announced by the government.