The Minister of Trade and Industry under the Mahama administration, Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah believes the army has “a very critical role” to play in the fight against illegal mining.
Speaking on Point Blank, Dr. Spio-Garbrah asserted that law enforcement agencies must put their foot down in the fight against the menace which is ravaging water bodies and farmlands all over the country.
“It is a law enforcement matter because, in many countries, you just won’t be able to do that [mine illegally]. So the law enforcement must put their foot down. These guys can’t be shooting at the Ghana Armed Forces. We are not fighting any war as a country… I believe that the Ghana armed forces, working alongside the police, have a very critical role to play in this matter,” he explained.
In the former Minister’s view, there is a policy problem with respect to managing small scale mining and fighting illegal mining in Ghana.
Speaking as a former board member of AngloGold Ashanti, he highlighted the scale of the epidemic, noting that “it will amaze many Ghanaians to learn that currently, there are as many as 8,000 to 10,000 illegal miners on AngloGold’s concession alone.”
“They are operating underground and they are very sophisticated. They have teams, they have all kinds of expertise and they use some of the old workers to guide them in tunnels that they ought not to know much about,” he added.
Citi FM’s #StopGalamseyNow campaign
Dr. Spio-Garbrah thoughts on illegal mining followed the launching of Citi FM’s #StopGalamseyNow campaign aimed at raising awareness of the urgency of the illegal mining situation and its consequences in Ghana.
The campaign makes five demands of government:
- The total cessation of all small and medium scale mining for a period of six months
- The cessation of the issuance of new mining licences for a year
- The reclassification of mining categories to reflect the use of new/larger equipment
- The allowance of water bodies to regenerate their natural ecology
- Tree planting and a land reclamation project