General News of Tuesday, 31 January 2017
Dealing with the issue of illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, will be key on the agenda of the Lands and Natural resources ministry, minister-nominee John Peter Amewu has indicated.
He says he will ensure a full enforcement of laws against illegal mining in the country. John Peter Amewu, who took his turn before Parliament’s Appointments Committee to be vetted for the position on Tuesday [January 31, 2017], said there was the need for stiffer punishment for persons who flout the law by mining illegally in the country.
He said, “as a country, we must begin to enforce some of these laws. If the house gives me the nod, I’m not going to take it lightly at all, if you refuse to do the right thing, the law will get you, and I am going to apply the law to address ‘galamsey’ issue in the country.”
The former New Patriotic Party Volta Regional Chairman told the committee he will be firm to deal with illegal miners without political party considerations. “I’m not a minister for party executives, I am a minister for the republic of Ghana and for the purpose of intergenerational equity, we must leave something down for our generation to come and see…
Irrespective of your party colour, irrespective of who owns the land, irrespective of your family background, the law will be applied,” he said. “Not all the small scale miners are doing illegal mining. Those that are doing the right thing we will need to help them, and so through training we should be able to assist them to do the right one. The recalcitrant ones will be made to face the law,” he added.
Ghana has over the last decade suffered the effects of widespread illegal mining activities in various regions of the country.
Water bodies including the Brim River have been rendered undrinkable, because illegal mining activities have left the them polluted.
Some water treatment plants have also been forced to shut down due to high toxic content in water bodies that make them untreatable for onward supply to homes. In some cases, farmlands, forest reserves and farms have been destroyed in search of gold.
‘Seizure of mining assets’ John Peter Amewu assured the committee that he will be prepared to seize and render accounts for all assets seized from operations to clamp down on illegal mining.