President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, has assured that shortly, Government will put out a statement setting out a comprehensive roadmap, including the lifting of the ban on small-scale mining, to deal with, on a permanent basis, the grave threat of galamsey to the present and future health of Ghana.
The comprehensive roadmap, according to the President, will involve the reclaiming and re-afforestation of mined-out areas; the restoration of impacted water bodies; and strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licenses and associated permits.
Additionally, the road map will incorporate the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project; the implementation of alternative livelihood projects; systematic control of the engagement of excavators and changfans in mining areas; and continued formalisation and regulation of the small-scale mining sector.
“When the ban is lifted, you will have a responsibility, as was successfully discharged in the days of our forefathers, to continue to help preserve our lands, water bodies and environment,” the President said.
He continued, “We all have a duty to say no to galamsey for our own common survival and the survival of those who are to come. If we allow it, we are jeopardising both our present and our future. This cannot be over-emphasised.”
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Monday, 18th June, 2018, when he delivered the keynote address at the sensitisation workshop for traditional and religious leaders and stakeholders on the elimination of illegal mining in Ghana, held at the Accra International Conference Centre.
Recalling his remarks to the same gathering a year ago, the President acknowledged that because of the difficulties the nation had gone through in recent years, some persons had decided to find unorthodox means, including galamsey, of keeping body and soul together.
In dealing with galamsey, the Akufo-Addo government set up, at the level of the Cabinet, an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining, with the world-renowned scientist, Prof. Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, in the chair.
The Committee, at the commencement of its work, recommended an initial 6-month ban on small scale mining activities, a request which was assented to by the President. The ban has, since then, been extended.
Government, the President said, gave directives to the Committee to carry out certain activities to bring sanity into the artisanal gold mining sector, including the launching of Operation Vanguard; the training of small-scale miners in sustainable mining methods at the George Grant University of Mines and Technology, Tarkwa; and regular interactions between the Inter-Ministerial Committee and the Small-Scale Miners Association to craft a Code of Practice for small scale mining operations.
President Akufo-Addo added that the formation of District Mining Committees against illegal mining with clearly defined terms of reference; and the deployment of satellite imagery and drone technology to monitor the mining activities of illegal miners, have been undertaken by the Committee.
“Government also ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, as the 40th State Party. The objective of the Minamata Convention is to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions, and releases of mercury and mercury compounds into the environment,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo expressed his and the appreciation of the nation to the country’s revered religious leaders, and eminent Chiefs and Queenmothers, for the support they have offered, and continue to offer in the fight against galamsey.
“I was in the Western Region for a 3-day tour a little over a week ago, and I was comforted by the strong remarks of support by the Chiefs I encountered, who attested to the marked improvement in the vegetation and the quality of the water bodies, in comparison to the situation a year ago,” he added.