Calls for a major clampdown against the activities of illegal miners have been shot down by a security expert, Dr Emmanuel Kwesi Aning.
According to the Head of the Department of Research at the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC) in Accra, those calling for the forceful attack on the activities of illegal mining (galamsey) have failed to appreciate the magnitude of the current situation.
“What we are saying is galamsey is not; because galamsey is artisanal illegal mining. Quite a bit of what we are seeing now has moved beyond artisanal mining to actually involve some heavy equipment; even the locally manufactured equipment being used have moved beyond artisanal mining.
“The hard school that says go in and wipe them out does not seem to understand the sheer number of guns owned by these people, and we are not talking about locally-made guns alone. We are talking about fairly sophisticated weapons,” he said.
He was speaking on the current affairs programme, PM Express, on the Joy News channel on Multi TV.
A media campaign against the destructive activities of galamsey is gaining traction as pressure mounts on government to stop end the problem
The activities of the small-scale miners have caused severe pollution to the country’s fresh water bodies and destroyed arable lands.
The Ghana Water Company has shut down some of its treatment plants as key water sources have been heavily polluted with heavy metals beyond acceptable levels for purification.
While some have called for an immediate frontal attack against the miners polluting the water bodies and destroying vegetation, others have suggested a more cautious approach in order to achieve lasting results.
Dr Aning backs the latter approach.
“We have allowed this [destruction by galamsey] to happen over time because of how we have used intelligence; because of our failure to apply the laws of this country.
“We just don’t need to clear these people out, we need a conversation. A conversation that says ‘what is the extent of the problem? Who are the core miners? ‘Who are the people who supply them with hard chemicals? Who are supplying the guns the bullets, education, food, sex…all the ancillary business that is around [galamsey]?’”, he told PM Express host, Nana Ansah Kwao IV.
“I don’t think we should use violence to sweep these matters under the carpet,” he adds.
He suggests that while the calculated approach to ending illegal mining is being pursued, the government must make sure that mining at known illegal mining sites ceases.
Click the video link below to watch the full show.