General News of Wednesday, 19 July 2017
President Nana Akufo-Addo has affirmed his government’s commitment to seeing the end of galamsey, urging the nation not to allow the destructive activity to continue destroying lands and water bodies.
Addressing journalists at the flagstaff House on six months of being in office, the president said his government will no longer tolerate further degradation of the environment by galamsey operators, adding that he as President is not against mining, or the Chinese but is against any form of mining which seeks to destroy the environment.
“As I have said before, since the Almighty has blessed our Land with mineral resources, we cannot do without mining, and we have the right to exploit the minerals in our land. But we cannot and should not destroy our lands and water bodies and our environment in search of gold and other minerals.”
The uncompromising posture of the president on illegal mining has been condemned by some of the operators of small scale mining, especially the illegal miners.
But Nana Akufo-Addo, who thanked the press for their unflinching support in the fight against illegal mining, said he will fight it to the end.
“I am grateful that the majority of the people and you, the media, have lent their support to the campaign against galamsey. I am hoping that the programme to restore the degraded lands will attract the same enthusiasm. For my part, I will not relent in this struggle.”
The president said although his government will allow small-scale mining in the country, it would have to be done in a safe manner.
“We hold the land in trust for generations yet unborn,” he said, adding his government is arranging for small scale mining to be done in a more sustainable way.
President Akufo-Addo said the sustainable small-scale mining regime government has envisaged will protect the country’s environment while, at the same time, ensuring the miners get fair prices for their minerals.
Ghana’s water bodies, forests, and arable lands have borne the brunt of the destructive activities of the illegal miners.
The Tano River in the Brong Ahafo Region has dried up for the first time in 40 years, a development residents have blamed on galamsey, while the Brim River in the Eastern Region, and the Ankobrah River in the Western Region, have been muddied due to the activities of these illegal miners.
The Ghana Water Company Limited has said the country will be importing water from its neighbours by 2020 if the practice is not ended.
Cabinet, President Akufo-Addo said, is considering a number of proposals to end galamsey, including using former illegal miners to reclaim the lands, as well as offering them incentives to go into farming.
The Minister for Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, Prof. Frimpong Boateng, is heading the cabinet committee which is identifying alternative sources of livelihood for persons involved in illegal mining activities, according to the President.