General Regional

Chinese miners still trooping in – Ken Ashigbey

Convener of the Media Coalition against Galamsey, Ken Ashigey, has said the fight against illegal mining , popularly known as Galamsey has not been won yet.

Speaking on Citi TV’s News Analysis Programme, The Point of View, Mr. Ashigbey said despite the measures adopted to permanently tackle Galamsey, Chinese nationals , who in his view are the “conveyor belts of Galamsey”, are still trooping into the country to engage in the activity.

He indicated that the Forestry Commission had also failed as far as tackling galamsey is concerned, given that most illegal mining activities are freely conducted around forest reserves.

“The fight against illegal mining is a war that has not been completed. ..I came from Adisababa today and on the flight from Adisababa there were a lot of Chinese on the flight and you look at Ghana and you wonder whether these Chinese are coming as business people or tourists. What are they coming to do. You know another interesting thing?

“Because Ghana is asking them to get visas before they come what they are doing is they are coming to our neighboring countries and they are being smuggled in, so definitely the conveyer belt has not stopped. The interesting thing is these Chinese are arrested operating within the forest reserve. What is the Forestry Commission doing?”

Ghana continues to suffer from the activities of persons engaged in illegal mining, a situation that is destroying farmlands and water resources.

As a result, the government was compelled to issue a ban on all forms of small scale mining in 2017 to sanitize the sector.

Analysts have also warned that Ghana may resort to the importation of clean water in the next two decades if the threat is not eradicated.

Gov’t to lift ban on small-scale mining by December

Government gave the assurance that it may lift the ban on all forms of small-scale mining by the end of 2018.

Professor Frimpong Boateng, Chairman of the Inter-ministerial Task-force Against Illegal Mining, who spoke on Citi TV’s CNR, was optimistic that small-scale miners would be able to return to work by December.

Some stakeholders have however called on the government to reconsider its decision to lift the ban on small-scale mining until a viable framework for alternative livelihood is rolled out.

The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is one of the organisations has warned the government against lifting the ban on small-scale mining anytime soon.

It said the country’s water bodies and environment are still in a bad state due to the devastating effects of illegal small-scale mining still ongoing in some parts of the country.

According to the CSIR, lifting the ban will only worsen the situation of the country’s water bodies and land resources.

The Chief Research Scientist at CSIR Water Research Institute, Dr. Kankam Yeboah, said the polluted water bodies must be given enough time to get back to their natural state.

“Educate the public to see the need to stop. I won’t do that as long as we still find the recalcitrant ones doing that illegal mining. You can’t just lift it and say that is the end. Regeneration of this water and putting them right again is not an overnight process…. Let’s say you stop galamsey today, within 2 years. Once you stop, the natural system takes care of itself,” he said

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