Galamsey involves the illegal mining of gold and other minerals in Ghana.
Recent calls from the public to implement more stringent efforts to end galamsey have been answered. On the Super Morning Show Friday, Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) said he is currently ramping up efforts to stop the illegal small-scale mining.
“The idea is to strengthen the regulatory committees,” he said. Part of those efforts, he said, has included beefing up personnel and providing extensive training.
Galamsey, a term derived from the phrase “gather them and sell” involves the illegal mining of gold and other minerals in Ghana. The act not only depletes the country of its natural resources, but it pollutes water and the air.
Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation
According to MESTI, the Ministry is designed to “provide leadership and guidance for the environment, science, technology and innovation within the broad sector of the economy through sound policy formulation and implementation.
Additionally, it ensures the establishment of the regulatory framework and setting of standards to govern the activities of science and technology and the management of the environment for sustainable development.”
“We need collective efforts to preserve the environment,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, a group of local non-profit organisations (NGOs) claims that promises from government to engage in ethical, responsible and environmentally-friendly practices in mining bauxite in the Atewa Forest have been broken.
In a statement released to media, they say the Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amenu, informed residents at Takwa-Nsuta in the Western Region that he would assert sustainable measures to ensure the safeguard of the people.
“If we are to take the statement of the Minister by its true intent, then there is a need for all of us to clearly understand the principles that underpin responsible mining and sustainable use of resources and for which the Minister so refers to,” the NGOs wrote.
Those NGOs include: The Coalition of NGOs against Mining in Atewa, Concerned Citizens of Atewa Landscape, Green Livelihood Alliance and Shared Resource Joint Solutions.
Bauxite is a rare sedimentary rock found mostly around the Earth’s equator. It is the raw material used to make aluminum, the world’s third most copious element after oxygen and silicon.
Mining them involves digging through several metres of rock and clay, which can threaten the drinking water for millions of Ghanaians.
The Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources did not immediately respond to requests made for comment, but in documentation made available on its website, they admit that “environmental degradation is a big challenge of the sector.”
According to the Ministry, mining contributes roughly 27% to the government’s revenue and employs approximately 28,000 people.
Twelve attempts to mine bauxite in Atewa Forest left negative impacts on water, health and the well-being of residents in the area, the statement reads.