President Akufo-Addo has indicated that his government is in the process of identifying alternative sources of livelihood for persons involved in illegal mining, popularly referred to as ‘galamsey’ across the country.
According to President Akufo-Addo, a cabinet committee, headed by the Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, has been established to implement to the letter government’s strategy on combating illegal mining.
“But we cannot allow mining to compromise our future environment,” President Akufo-Addo stated.
That, he said, was because 60 percent of Ghana’s water bodies have been affected by illegal mining.
For him, “That is unacceptable for which reason government is trying to find an alternative source of livelihood for those who are into the illegal mining business, popularly known in the local parlance as ‘galamsey.’
Addressing Ghanaian residents in Conakry, Guinea on Thursday during his visit to that country, he noted that “we are not out to attack Chinese or Canadians or whoever; we are saying that we want people to respect the laws of our country and make sure that our environment does not suffer from mining, and that is what we are going to do.”
“One of the advantages of campaigning is that you get to see Ghana. It is the exposure I had in this last campaign of what was actually going on in the field that hardened my decision, [that] God-willing if I was to win the election, to make the fight against ‘galamsey’ one of my priorities,” he stated.
He said his government was in the process of identifying alternative sources of livelihood for persons involved in illegal mining activities.
President stated that the christening of Ghana’s first modern city as Elmina to wit ‘The Mine’ by the Portuguese as far back as the 15th century showed that mining was important for the country’s economy.
He stressed the need for the establishment of what he called an integrated aluminium industry to ensure the future of Ghana.
“We need an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana – right from the mining of the bauxite to alumina, and the refining of alumina into aluminium,” he stated.
“Aluminium is the metal of the future, and we have substantial quantities of the raw material in our country. “We need a strategy that will ensure value-addition, and not just exporting it in its raw form,” he stressed.
“There is no future in the export of our raw materials. But we must add value inside our country, create jobs, and at the end of the process we will have aluminium.”
“That was part of the reasons why former President Kufuor bought VALCO so that it will be part of this process for an integrated aluminium industry in Ghana. Very soon the plans will be out.”
He was hopeful a bill would be passed by the end of the next sitting of Parliament to establish an Aluminium Development Authority – the vehicle principally responsible for putting together the infrastructure that is required for the exploitation of the country’s bauxite at Nyinahin and Kyebi respectively.
By Charles Takyi-Boadu, Presidential Correspondent