Business News of Tuesday, 18 July 2017
Some GH¢S225,000 would be required to reclaim a hectare of the swaths of land destroyed by illegal mining or galamsey activities across the country, research by the Forestry Research Institute has shown.
A Principal research scientist, and Head of Biodiversity Conservation and Ecosystem Services Division of the institute, Dr. Luke C.N.A. Anglaaere, said it will take so many processes to restore a polluted land, including pumping out the contaminated water, backfilling it with soil in layers, among other procedures, before revegetating the land.
He said such an exercise could be done through a process known as “landscape restoration,” which requires a sequential set of activities, within a long-term plan, and largely community driven.
Dr. Anglaare, who was reacting to some comments at the launch of the findings of research commissioned by Good Governance Africa on illegal mining, in Kumasi, asserted that the mining legal regime requires licensed miners to reclaim mined sites of their concession.
But this has not often been the case; some of the licensed small-scale miners operate in the “irresponsible manner” illegal miners undertake their activities.
He insisted that if the right processes of mining had been followed, reclamation would have come at a much lesser cost.
The “Research into small-scale mining formalization: Changing the paradigm of illegal Galamsey,” led by Dr. Kingsley Arkorful, was conducted using six communities out of three mining districts in the Ashanti Region.
The Executive Director of Good Governance Africa, Mrs. Tina Asante-Apeatu, said clarity must be brought to illegal small-scale mining and legitimate ones to help address the issue of the havoc being caused the environment by some of these miners.
Whilst pledging the support of her outfit to government’s efforts at fighting galamsey, she called for the antagonistic approach to give way to a situtation where all stakeholders would be engaged in finding a lasting solution to the problem.
The study found that in some of the communities illegal miners contributed to the construction of school buildings, and electricity connection, among others.
It was also revealed that many people are forced into illegal mining due to the bureaucratic bottlenecks, corruption and other administrative challenges involved in securing a license to operate.
The study recommended, among other things, that: “The State should enforce all the regulations stipulated in the various mining codes with regards to environmental reclamation.”
It also said “Government must take the lead in environmental reclamation. A special tax for the environment needs to be paid by the miners. Part of the revenue generated from mining should be used to clean up the environment around the mining sites.”
It further suggested that: “The government can sub-contract monitoring and regulation to the mining University.”
Recently, the Ashanti Regional branch of the Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners, at a joint press conference with Heavy Duty Machinery Operators Association in Kumasi, asked its members to return to their sites to cover the pits they have created.
They also announced their readiness to engage mining experts and scholars at the University of Mines and Technology, to devise some strategies to undertake the reclamation exercise.
The Association said it is well placed to undertake the reclamation exercise, for which reason government does not to need to go “begging for funds to do this.”