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General News of Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Only 12 mining engineers available in Ghana; Deputy Minister needs over 100

Government is recruiting mining engineers and inspectors as it enters the next stage of the anti-galamsey crusade.

For a country, popular for producing gold, diamond and other minerals, only 12 mining engineers are available in Ghana, a number Deputy Lands and Natural Resources Minister has described as discouraging.

According to Benito Owusu-Bio, over 100 to 200 of such professionals are needed to complement the works of the officers at the Minerals Commission at the various mining centres.

The mining engineers are needed to ensure that underground resources such as minerals, metals, oil and gas are extracted safely and efficiently.

The Deputy Minister said recruitment has begun in earnest as part of strategies to end the illegal mining activities across the country.

Government, civil society and the media have begun a massive campaign to end indiscriminate mining in Ghana.

The galamsey mining has polluted the country's water bodies, fouled our farmlands and destroyed the environment in general.

There are fears Ghana may soon be importing water if the current state of pollution of the country's water bodies is not stopped.

The campaign against galamsey started with a ban on illegal and small scale mining activities.

A three-week ultimatum was given for all illegal miners to withdraw their equipment.

With the deadline for the ultimatum ending, a combined team of military and police personnel, led by the Lands Minister John Peter Amewu have been moving round the various mining areas to arrest perpetrators.

Over 500 excavators were said to have been seized from the miners after they ignored the warning from the minister.

This week, four Russians and Ukrainians were arrested at Tontokrom in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region for engaging in illegal mining.

Another five Chinese nationals including, Asia Huang popularly called the galamsey queen or Aisha are also being prosecuted for the same offence.

Speaking to Joy News Editor Dzifa Bampoh, the Deputy Lands Minister said government is now taking steps to protect the gains made in the fight against galamsey.

As part of the strategy, Benito Owusu Bio said the DCEs are increasingly becoming more and more prominent in the fight against galamsey.

He said the DCEs who are heads of the District Security Council are also heads of the District Mining Committee with oversight responsibility to issue licenses to the miners once they satisfy all the necessary procedures.

With only nine mining district offices across the country, the Deputy Minister said it is important to increase the number.