General News of Sunday, 11 September 2016
The Minister of Roads and Highways, Inusah Fuseini has downplayed assertions that government has failed to proactively address the menace of illegal mining in the country.
He however indicated that a novel and sustainable approach to combating illegal mining was needed if any progress was to be made.
“The government has not failed in dealing with galamsey. There are challenges with galamsey and the challenges are multi-faceted,” Inusah Fuseini contended on The Big Issue.
The Minister highlighted the problem the dual ownership of land played in enabling the canker and underscored the importance of local government in enforcing laws against illegal mining.
“Land which is the subject matter of the whole debacle has the problem of dual ownership as government owns the mineral resources on the ground. Chiefs own the surfaces rights. People go to the chief and take land and start mining.”
“Now you need the chiefs to come in. Every land is within a jurisdiction of a metropolitan, municipal or district assembly. You need the local government to be part of the thing.”
Illegal mining has come to the fore in the past month following the shutdown of the Kyebi treatment plant and the threat of same to other treatment plants.
This is due to the galamsey-related pollution of the major sources of water for consumption in the Rivers Pra, Ankobra, Birim, Tano among others.
Law enforcement can’t do it all
Inusah Fuseini, erstwhile the head of an anti-galamsey taskforce, admitted that the use of police and military as the first line of law enforcement to combat illegal mining and its effects could only go so far as they “could not be on the sites 24 hours.”
Hence, “you need a sustainable system to fight galamsey and that is what I think government’s attention must be turned to,” the minister said.