Ghana Committed to Fighting Illegal Mining
The President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo has said his government “will not weaken its stance” against illegal mining and has welcomed support from the Media Coalition Against Illegal Mining to fight the menace . Addressing Ghanaians on his state of the nations , he indicated that the threat posed to the future of the country by galamsey is grave and the state cannot shirk its responsibilities in dealing with it .t He said: “When we came into office in January 2017, galamsey activities were rampant in many parts of our country. Our lands, forests and river bodies were being systematically degraded and polluted without any care. And this had been the case for several years. Indeed, the previous government had given up the fight against galamsey. We determined that this was an intolerable situation, and we owed it to generations yet unborn, to tackle the problem and save our environment. “I was very much aware that the lure of gold, once it takes hold, drives away all rationality. That is not a Ghanaian characteristic, it is a human characteristic that has been displayed all over the world, throughout the ages. I was, therefore, not under any illusions about the size and scope of the problem we were taking on. “But, I was cheered by the support from a large part of the population that also recognised the danger posed by the degradation of our lands and water bodies, and the needless deaths of young people, who were being buried alive in makeshift mining pits. I welcomed, in particular, the Media Coalition, which was formed in July 2017, that lent its support to the fight against galamsey”, he said. He said: “As I have said on countless occasions, the battle we launched was not against mining, it would be unrealistic for anyone to suggest that there should be no mining in Ghana. The Almighty, having blessed us with all these precious minerals, must surely be in agreement that we would find ways to use them to develop our country, and for the benefit of our communities. “However, taking the minerals out should not lead to the destruction of our water bodies and forests, or endanger the sustainable existence of our country. What is more, it was obvious to all that the small-scale mining, that had always taken place in our communities, had been transformed into something unrecognisable in our history by the introduction of the monster machinery that dug up riverbeds and turned serene streams into ugly, toxic, muddy, frothy ponds. It was no longer small-scale mining, and it certainly was no longer local community mining, when we saw the influx of foreigners into the most rural, isolated and densest of forests. It was no longer local community mining when rivers, hitherto, considered as sacred, were being abused and polluted.