The Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP) supports the emerging national consensus to deal with illegal small scale mining (galamsey), however, it has asked government not to rest until the desired outcome is achieved.
ACEP is of the worry that one major impediment to the success of these efforts has been the invisible powers behind illegal mining activities.
Some of the faces that show up in the day against galamsey are also the same ones that are, at night, behind the dredging of river bodies, the destruction of cocoa farms and the abandoned pits that serve as death traps in many mining communities.
If current efforts will be successful, responsibility must be placed right where it belongs. We cannot win the battle against galamsey if those held accountable live in Accra and are out of touch with the suffering communities.
The Central Government must decentralize accountability to Chiefs, District Chief Executives, Local-level leadership of the EPA, District Commanders of the state's Security Agencies, as well as other duty bearers in the sector.
The uncontrolled destruction of the environment for precious minerals, particularly gold, highlights a collective irresponsibility of small scale miners, chiefs, politicians, land sector agencies, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), security agencies and other relevant regulators of the sector who look on while lives, lands, water bodies and cash crops are destroyed to the detriment of both current and unborn generations.
“Central Government must however be on the beat to support local authorities with security reinforcement and logistics when needed”- statement reads. Civil Society groups and the general public must also provide the needed oversight to keep all duty bearers in check.
There are ongoing efforts to respond to the President's declaration to address the challenges posed by galamsey.
The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources recently issued a moratorium on licensing to small scale operators and a freeze on all small scale mining activities. While these efforts are in the right direction, it must be noted that similar efforts by past governments were not successful due to the complexity of the problem at hand.
It is refreshing to see the public rise to demand a stop to galamsey, particularly from the media. This has to be sustained and taken to the communities to garner open declarations of support from Chiefs and other community leaders. We encourage all Ghanaians to get involved in the fight against galamsey.
Source: Deborah Agyei Amponsah/ Peacefm
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