Senior Principal Inspector of mines at the Minerals Commission, Zooga Wilson Wanab, has observed that the problems emanating from the illegal small-scale mining (SSM), otherwise called galamsey, are a result of the systemic leadership failure on the part of the nation’s political, institutional and community leaders.
He reasoned that if leaders within political circles, regulatory institutions as well as in communities where illegal mining is rampant, had unanimously spoken out against the blatant degradation of the environment by illegal miners, the country would have been spared the struggle of curbing the problem.
According to Mr. Wanab, it is time for all stakeholders to seek to address the issue head-on devoid of partisanship – political or otherwise.
“Now is the time to come together and decide that moving forward, we would not allow our freshwater bodies, forest reserves, and farmlands to be continuously destroyed by any illegal mining activity. Also, when perpetrators are caught by the security agencies, we should all allow the laws of the state to work in dealing with them,” Mr. Wanab said during a presentation at the 12th Colloquium of the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment of the University for Development Studies, Nyankpala campus.
Held under the theme: ‘The Genesis, The Present and The Way Forward’, the colloquium sought to create a platform for faculty members to share research work as well as engender inter-faculty collaborations.
Mr. Wanab appealed especially to traditional and religious authorities to lead the fight against illegal mining.
President-elect of the Faculty of Natural Resources and Environment, Nsimbela Ndabe Bernard, in an interview with the B&FT urged the government to endeavour to provide alternative means of livelihood for persons working in the illegal mining sector.
In his view, the country’s small-scale mining sector is thriving because it employs a significant number of persons who make a living from it. With the government’s decision to halt all illegal mining activities in the small-scale mining sector, he observed that many young people would be without jobs for a long time and implored the government to endeavour to provide them with interest-free loans to start small-scale businesses.
Mr. Nsimbela also suggested that another crucial state intervention would be the setting up of more factories under the one district one factory programme (1D1F) in the mining communities.