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General News of Wednesday, 5 April 2017


Environment Minister confronted by Ivorian authorities over galamsey

Ivorian authorities have expressed grave concerns over the activities of illegal miners in Ghana, which they say is polluting their water bodies.

Environment Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng, said he was confronted by Ivorian officials at a conference in Ivory Coast over the situation.

He told the media at a news conference held by a coalition against galamsey in Accra Tuesday the officials took advantage of his presence to organize a press conference to raise their concerns.

They talked about "effects that the galamsey in Ghana is having on Ivory Coast because River Bia enters Ivory Coast almost at the lower thirds. And Tano enters the Lagoon and it is polluting the Bia lagoon so they cannot even treat water in some of their treatment plants," he recounted.

Professor Boateng said immediately he was asked by the Ivorian Ministers for Environment and Mining to speak to their citizens about measures Ghana is putting in place to solve the issue.

"I made it clear to them that we are very serious to stop galamsey and I was able to convince them that indeed we are serious," he said.

The Environment Minister raised the issue to emphasise the extent of damage the unrestrained activities of illegal miners is doing to the image of the country abroad.

Pressure is being mounted on the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo-led government to bring an end to illegal mining which is polluting water bodies and destroying the vegetative cover.

A media coalition led by Joy FM of the Multimedia Group Limited and Ghana Independent Broadcasters Association (GIBA) has launched an anti-galamsey campaign dubbed #NoToGalamsey.

A member of the Steering Committee of the Coalition, Ken Ashigbey, told Joy News they will bring pressure to bear on government to implement programmes that will discourage the citizens and foreigners from illegal mining.

Lands Minister, John Peter Amewu, has issued a three-week ultimatum to illegal miners to quit their activities or face the full rigours of the law if they are apprehended.

With 15 days to the expiration of the directive, the coalition has urged the Minister not to spare anyone who is caught engaging in illegal mining in the country.

The President has set up a Committee that is drafting a policy expected to guide government in its fight against the galamsey menace. He has promised he will not sit by whilst galamsey pollutes the water bodies and destroys the environment.

Reiterating the President's position, Professor Boateng served notice that the government will deal with individuals who are caught either sponsoring galamsey or engaged in the illegal mining.