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Regional News of Sunday, 17 May 2015

Source: GNA

Need for special fund to finance illegal task force - Prof. Ahenkorah

Professor Yaw Ahenkorah, former Head of Soil Science Department at the University of Ghana has called for the establishment of a special fund to finance the inter-ministerial task force to deal with illegal mining.

The Professor is of the view that the taskforce should be independent devoid of political interference to discharge their mandate and to be resolute to sustain monitoring to nip the practice in the bud.

"There are factors preventing improved environmental practices in illegal mining including lack of self-generated funding and easy access to credit and absence of systematic geological exploration before commencement of exploitation in the area of operation," he added.

He made the proposition at an annual lecture in the sciences 2015 on the topic "Galamsey: Effects of Soil Productivity," organised by the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences in Accra.

Prof Ahenkorah noted chiefs who are custodians of the land may be the most effective agents to control the menace of galamsey because the illegal operators respect them and are afraid of the curse of local gods and the repercussions of the great oath of the land.

He said effective education and technical support through training, seminars, and workshops should be intensified to handle environmental challenges.

He called for co-operation between and among large and small scale operators and there should be registration of small-scale miners encroaching on large scale miners concessions.

The Professor said failure to incorporate environmental issues in the planning stages of mining operations, which result in serious and substantial liabilities affect improved environmental practices such as illegal mining.

He said galamsey had flourished but not without its consequences with serious impact, which necessitated the enactment of the small-scale gold mining Law PNDC L218 in May 1989 with concurrent implementation of an accompanying marketing framework enshrined in the mandate of the precious mineral marketing corporation.

"The illegal operators are highly disorganised, work without license and have no concessions, operate uncontrollably even in prohibited areas like forest reserves, which leads to confrontations with the security agencies."