We will fly drones to fight galamsey – Lands Minister

The Lands and Forestry Minister says they are ready to combat activities of illegal miners blamed for polluting Ghana’s rivers and lakes.

John Peter Amewu disclosed during a visit to AngloGold Ashanti Mine (AGA) at Obuasi last Saturday that the Ministry will adopt a mix of technology devices such as drones to combat small scale mining popularly referred to as galamsey.

He also disclosed they are in talks with officials of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) to put trackers on earth moving equipment to monitor mining activities that pollute the nation’s water bodies.

A lot of Ghana’s water bodies are being polluted daily by what has been identified as destructive human activities. Experts have warned the nation might import water from neighboring countries by 2020 if stringent measures are not put in place.

The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a situation residents have blamed on mining activities.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Ghana Water Company (GWC) continue to undertake awareness programmes to educate the citizens about destructive human activities.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also expressed grave concerns about the exploitation of Ghana’s natural resources which he believes is done with little regard for future generations.

Delivering his speech at the nation’s 60th independence anniversary last week, the President said although Ghanaians have the right to “exploit” resources to their benefit, this should be done to safeguard them.

Mr Amewu who promised during his vetting to arrest the issue said available research finding has noted close to 60 percent of earth moving equipment shipped into the country found themselves in the thick forests and not the roads.

“They are in the deep forest excavating into our water bodies. We are going to put tracking devices on them to see how we will identify these people at a particular spot,” he said.

But he was emphatic that “very soon” government will clamp down on activities of illegal mining in Ghana.

“Take one river and do a demonstration along that river body to see how we can take these people out,” he said.

“We will fly drones along them as a monitoring device with police posted…to monitor it,” he added.