MP for Mpohor, Alex Agyekum addressing the youth
The youth of Mpohor District of the Western Region, who were engaged in illegal mining, popularly called ‘galamsey,’ have backed the government’s decision to clamp down on the activities of illegal miners.
They have therefore debunked assertions by some media houses that the youth of Mpohor were still mining in River Pra despite the ban on all small-scale mining.
According to them, they were aware that ‘galamsey’ had polluted water bodies, destroyed arable and farmlands, as well as the forest covers.
However, they have pleaded with the government to put measures in place to regularize their operations since ‘galamsey’ activities serve as source of income for many inhabitants in the area.
An intensified campaign by government to end all illegal mining across the country has forced some of the illegal miners to vacate their sites and surrender their equipment.
The objectives of the government are, to among others, formalize the sector as much as possible and rope in all those who are engaged in illegal mining.
At a town hall meeting organized in the area, the youth of Mpohor indicated that they had always done things properly and were ready to regularize their operations by acquiring small-scale mining permits.
“We are pleading with government to rescind its decision to ban ‘galamsey’ entirely but rather find ways of controlling our activities since mining is the most profitable economic activity in the Mpohor District,” they added.
Spokesperson for the youth, Matthew Ekow Assan remarked that “it is not true that ‘galamsey’ operators here have declared that they will continue with their activities despite the ban as reported by some media houses.”
He indicated that the youth of Mpohor were law-abiding and that none of the ‘galamsey’ operators in the district would be recalcitrant and refuse to adhere to the government’s directive to illegal mining.
“We don’t support mining in water bodies because very soon the country may be forced to import water for consumption if the current rate of pollution of water sources continues,” he pointed out.
He also added that if the sector is regularized, all those involved in the illegal mining would be educated and introduced to the right ways of doing things, adding that “and those who fail to do so should be penalized.”
The Member of Parliament (MP) for the area, Alex Agyekum, told the youth that plans were afoot to introduce alternative livelihood interventions to help create jobs for the youth.
He mentioned that the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs,’ Zongo Development Fund, one million dollar per constituency, as well as one district, one factory policies would create jobs for the youth.
“As an MP I have started distributing sewing machines, hair dryers and carpentry tools to the youth who are interested in learning dress making, hair dressing and carpentry respectively,” he added.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Mpohor