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General News of Friday, 21 May 2021


Operation Halt: Gov’t has made us enemies to the process – Small Scale Miners

File photo of a galamsay site File photo of a galamsay site

Director of Finance for the Small Scale Miners Association, Francis Opoku has hinted that small-scale miners do not feel motivated to support the government’s efforts to end illegal mining.

According to him, this is as a result of some actions and inactions of the government that have affected the work of licensed miners.

He adds that certain government actions have made them “enemies” to the entire fight against galamsey and its processes.

He told Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show: “The truth is that there have been some challenges with the current operation in the sense that in as much as we all agree galamsey was having a negative effect on our water bodies and our forests, we can all testify that some have licenses to engage in responsible mining. So, in an attempt to flush out illegality if you breach one person’s right then it means things aren’t going well”.

Francis revealed that during the consultative dialogue with government, it was agreed upon that there should be local monitoring by district mining committees after the forest and water issues have been addressed. However, “what is happening is that they have made us enemies to the whole process”.

“If you seize the excavators of the members, do you expect the Association to help the government because we are thinking about legalized business people whose excavators have been burnt”, he added.

Speaking on the galamsey fight, Francis advised that if the process is always an ad hoc one, galamseyers will continue operating. He, thus, highlighted the need for sustainability of the process.

In April 2021, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources issued the directive to cease all reconnaissance and prospecting activities in the forest reserves after a recent call by all stakeholders for government to rigidly apply sanctions on all those who break the law on small scale mining.

Subsequently, the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources decided to burn down excavators and equipment seized by security operatives as a measure to curb illegal mining in the country.

Prior to the burning of excavators, President Akufo-Addo ordered for the deployment of about 200 soldiers to mining areas to clamp down on activities by illegal miners.

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