Director of Finance of the Ghana Association of Small Scale Miners, Francis Opoku has chastised the government for burning excavators of miners in its fight against the galamsey menace.
He argues the government cannot attempt to fight an illegality (galamsey) with an illegality (burning excavators).
On his accord, the government at the National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining promised to take steps to fight the menace together “but that didn’t happen”.
“We can call non-NPP persons who took part in the dialogue and they will tell you we all agreed for the solution to the menace (galamsey) to be consultative in nature. We never agreed to anyone burning excavators”, he disclosed.
He motioned that the President only gave a 10-day ultimatum for persons prospecting to withdraw their equipment from the forests and directed for the immediate arrest and seizure of equipment belonging to illegal miners on and along water bodies. “And that is what we supported”, he told Samuel Eshun of the Happy Morning Show.
Shocked at the sudden decision to burn excavators by the government, Francis said, “We are pained by what the government is doing now. The instruction was for the military to seize equipment of illegal miners on and along river bodies and there was never any mention of excavators. But now, the military is burning excavators of small scale miners which have been withdrawn from the forests and parked at home. The gov’t should be careful and ready to take responsibility for their actions.”
The government of Ghana held a two-day National Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining where it was agreed that illegal mining (galamsey) is a national emergency that needs to be tackled immediately.
After the dialogue, the President deployed about 200 soldiers to mining areas to clamp down on activities by illegal miners.
This time around, all seized galamsey equipment including excavators are set ablaze on site by the military officers and this has caused mixed feelings amongst the public.