Business News of Friday, 21 April 2017
The Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) has stated that through efforts of its members, the activities of ‘galamsey’ operatives has been reduced drastically.
In a statement from the association, executives noted that as the ultimatum for a ban on galamsey activities ended last Wednesday, the association has undertaken some initiatives in line with government’s resolve to ensure that good mining practices are adopted going forward.
The Association said that it had worked hard to ensure the removal of dredgers from major river bodies, including Birim, Pra, Ankobra, Offin and several others.
“Illegal mining activities that went on in most of the forest reserves has also ceased due to constant interaction with the ‘galamseyers’,” the statement said.
It said over 500 excavators have been removed from these illegal mining areas with the help of the Association's task monitoring force in the various mining districts while ‘galamsey’ pits have been closed.
Government issued a three-week ultimatum to illegal miners to halt their operations or face criminal action for degrading the environment and polluting water bodies.
Since the coming into force of the ultimatum, a media coalition of broadcast houses, online platforms, newspapers and other civil society organisations, has been formed to campaign against ‘galamsey’ and that has resulted in many illegal miners going into hiding.
Though the fight is against illegal mining, some civil society organisations and traditional rulers are also accusing small-scale miners, who are licensed to undertake mining, of committing the same environmental degradation crimes as illegal miners.
But the statement noted that small-scale miners do not operate like ‘galamsey’ operators but rather comply with global rules and regulations in ethical mining and are not endangering the environment and river bodies.
It also said small-scale miners are ready to collaborate with the Land and Natural Resources Ministry and its agencies to ensure that illegal miners are engaged to find alternative livelihood support for them.
“We will entreat all illegal miners that have been affected to stay calm; it is not the intention of government to deny them of their livelihood but for the total good of the country,” it added.