Some women in galamsey operation.
The upsurge in illegal mining activities known in local parlance as galamsey, in the Wa East district of the Upper West Region, is gradually taking a toll on education in the area.
Many children of school going age have abandoned classrooms and are now into full scale illegal mining activities, in view of the cash benefits that come with these activities, despite the associated risks.
Enrolment figures in most basic schools in the district DAILY GUIDE observed were sharply declining as pupils had put on hold their plans to pursue formal education to chase ‘quick money.’
A visit to communities like Danyorkura, Duu and many others revealed that women were actively involved in the mining of the precious mineral, contrary to assertions that galamsey is operated by men.
It was revealed that several hectors of arable lands had been destroyed through the activities of illegal mining, making farmers in the area unwilling to engage in farming activities.
Galamsey, which has assumed an alarming proportion in a number of communities DAILY GUIDE visited, is likely to threaten food production in the district, touted as one of the major food baskets of the Upper West Region.
District Chief Executive (DCE) Abudul-Karimu Abudu, blamed the increasing spate of galamsey activities to the presence of Azumah Resources Ghana Limited, a prospecting mining company.
The DCE disclosed that the presence of the company had not brought any meaningful development to the people in the area. ‘I am yet to see what corporate social venture they have embarked on to help the people within their operational zone,’ he lamented.
Meanwhile, documents sighted by DAILY GUIDE revealed that the company holds three mining concessions in the Wa East district alone, estimated at 324km square.
Community Relations Manager of Azumah Resources Ghana Limited, Vitus Ngaanuma, admitted that the activities of illegal mining had been occasioned by his outfit, which began prospecting in 2010.
From Stephen Zoure, Tamale
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