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General News of Wednesday, 26 May 2021


Galamsey effects: Aquatic life in Pra river gone – Information Minister laments

Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah

• Mr Kojo Oppong Nkrumah has emphasised the need for the ongoing campaign against galamsey to be devoid of political coloration

• He notes some of the dire effects of illegal mining activities as the reason why government is committed to fighting the menace

• According to the Minister activities of illegal mining has left the Pra River without the presence of any aquatic life

The Minister for Information, Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah has reiterated the need for government to fight the menace of illegal mining citing its effects being witnessed on various water bodies across the country.

Appearing on Metro TV’s Good Evening Ghana monitored by GhanaWeb on Tuesday, May 25, 2021, the host, Paul Adom Otchere sought to suggest to the Minister that the renewed fight against illegal mining may incur the wrath of some elements within the ruling party whose businesses may be affected.

The Minister of Information was emphatic to state that the exercise being undertaken by the military which has led to the burning of some seized mining equipment including excavators was devoid of political colouration.

“I don’t think that the exercise that is going on is even focused on political colours. You’d recall that at the National Consultative Dialogue that my brother Abu Jinapor (Minister for Lands and Natural Resources) led beautifully on behalf of the President, all the parties were united that this must be fought. You had representatives of different political parties chairing different panels. They were united that this is a canker which must be fought,” he emphasized.

The Minister then highlighted some of the devastating effects of the galamsey menace including the Pra River which he said has totally lost the presence of all aquatic life due to illegal mining activities and the use of harmful chemicals in the same.

“You would be shocked at the banks of the Pra River if today it hasn’t improved, you’d see for yourself chemicals. Aquatic life is gone in the Pra River. I tell you myself; dead, gone. Cyanide, Mercury, etcetera. The Ghana Water Company pumps that draw water from the River Pra to water stations for treatment, they are having to replace the drawing pumps on a regular basis. Because of the kind of chemicals and mud that is coming from the Pra, even the machines can’t sustain it.”

“So if you are tackling a similar problem like this, it cant be a hanky-panky kind of what is comfortable. It is a difficult set of decisions that have had to be made. But I think the solution is very simple; don’t mine in the water bodies, don’t go a hundred meters close to the water body,” the Minister said.

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo in a second attempt by his government to tackle illegal mining recently commissioned a military operation dubbed Operation Halt.

As part of instructions given to the military team, they are to ensure the decommissioning of all mining equipment on and within one hundred meters of river bodies.

The exercise being carried out by the military has seen the burning of some mining equipment including high priced excavators.

This has caused divided opinions on the method of operation by the military team. The activities of some influential members of the ruling government have also been affected in the process.

Many people have sought to suggest that the exercise may prove futile owing to the alleged involvement of political elements in galamsey activities