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Australian High Commissioner to Ghana, Andrew Barnes, has applauded the Ghanaian government for its fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey).
According to him, galamsey is a huge problem for Ghana and to help fight it, the government will have to collaborate with the association of small-scale miners who are operating legally.
Speaking to Dr Etse Sikanku on World Affairs on Class91.3FM on a myriad of issues, Mr Barnes said: “Galamsey is a huge one for Ghana and I compliment government for its work on that and the Minister for Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, who has done a fantastic job on that.
“They’ve stopped the water dredging that was destroying the water ways, [seized] a large number of the heavy diggers that were supposedly doing small-scale mining that was contributing so much to land degradation, damaging the cocoa farms, and, so, I think there should be a lot of credit given to the government for the way they’ve tackled the galamsey issue.”
Mr Barnes said the Ghanaian government’s five-year $200million Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP), which is aimed at sanitising the small-scale mining landscape through a three-prong approach, including the provision of laws, enforcement of those laws, and the use of technology to ensure transparency and sustainable mining, “will go a long way to address the galamsey problem, which has really had a devastating effect on Ghana’s environment and there was really no option but for government to seize the rains and really go in hard to solve the problem.”
On the other hand, he noted that “the small-scale miners, the legitimate ones, play a very important role in Ghana’s economy and we’ve been working with the association of small-scale miners to help them to promote their organisation and their interest and livelihoods. 8,000 people are directly employed by small-scale miners and people’s jobs cannot be ignored, and, so, any solution to the galamsey problem, they have to work with the small-scale miners”.
The Akufo-Addo-led government, shortly after it assumed office, waged a war against galamsey. It has set up a task force called Operation Vanguard to clamp down on illegal miners.
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