A/R: Illegal miners defy gov’t ban on galamsey

Illegal miners, popularly known as galamsey are busily going about their duties in the Ashanti regional town of Akorikeri despite the ban on their activities.

Following a national hue and cry over the negative effects of unregulated mining, government issued a 3-week ultimatum for illegal miners to pack out of the lands.

The deadline expired this week Wednesday.

Mining activities were going on earnestly at the time the news team arrived at one of the sites at Akrokerri, though no excavators were on site.

However, the ‘champhin’, a Chinese crushing and milling technology is in use.

 It is unclear if they are not used here at all or they have just been taken way to meet government’s deadline

Defiant illegal however insist government rescind its decision to ban the activity in the country.

 Though some of them admit they are causing a lot of destruction, especially, to farm lands, they maintain there are no alternatives for them to make a living.

 These are the sentiments expressed to ou news team during a visit to some mining sites barely 48- hours after government’s ultimatum to halt illegal mining expired.

 The miners were apprehensive of our cameras.  Some of them resisted our attempts to take shots, besides refusing to speak with us.   

 Women had queued up carrying sand from the pits dug by the miners as if there was no ban in place.

 For them walking to and from the pits daily with an average of 12 Ghana cedis, provides a lifeline, irrespective of the damage to the environment.

 Hannah, for example has been here for days, trying to raise money for other business.

 She says she needs just about 400 Ghana cedis to start a business, and finds solace in galamsey.

“I am here purposely to raise money for a business. I have been asked to pay GH 350 for training,” She says.

 Many of the miners are less concerned even about the danger, including death, they are exposed to.

 Destruction of river bodies and farmlands, therefore, is the last thing they think about.

 “If government bans this work, he will bring hardship on us. That is what we use to fend for ourselves. We are not destroying any river body here. The government can go ahead and do whatever they want to do,”

 In Obuasi for instance, we found miners at work at sites at Pomposo, Akaporiso and Brahabebome.

It was however clear government’s crack-down appears to have taken the steam of many of them.

 The excavators were nowhere to be found.

 Muhad Adowini and Awintunia are trying to scrap through the huge piles of earth potentially for the precious metal.

 “We still have some work that is keeping us here. But we could leave here today or tomorrow.”

 Awintunia says he may just have to get ready to return to his hometown, Bolgatanga, in the Upper East Region.

 Like their colleagues at Akorikeri , many of them want government to review its decision to bam galamsey operations.

 Some of them say they may just have to consider other means of livelihood.

 From all indications, the fight against galamsey may not be as easy as, perhaps, majority of Ghanaians would wish.