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A Ghanaian mining professional in USA, Solomon Owusu, has told the Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee of Small-Scale Mining (ICSM), Professor Kwabena Frimpong Boateng to resign from his position as the Minister for Science, Technology and Environment.
Initially, he had written an open letter to the president, His Excellency Nana Akufo Addo to dissolve the mining committee, which does not include any mining professional and therefore lacking technical capability to find solutions to the problem.
He has asked the president to form a mining technical team to support the minister, Mr. Peter Amewu in finding solutions to the long-lasting “galamsey” problem. He believes that move will speed up the regularisation process and produce cost-effective and quality results to end the undecipherable postponements of the ban lift.
The concerned Ghanaian couldn’t fathom why the minister lied to the public during the recent National Policy Summit in Kumasi that the cleanliness of the water bodies has improved. He has disputed the medical doctor’s statement and challenged him to visit the mining areas and see the current state of the rivers himself. Also, he has pleaded with the media houses in Ghana, especially the multi-media and the despite groups to follow up in the small-scale mining areas, take videos and water samples to justify whether the water bodies in those areas have truly improved.
Solomon strongly believes he has undeniable evidence to challenge the falsehood purported by the chairman on any platform concerning the water quality improvement in the mining catchment areas. He has challenged Prof to publish all the water quality parameters, including metal concentration and pH.
“Unlike the medical discipline, mining is about fieldwork and not medical surgery, so Prof should follow the profession’s norms by visiting the sites either in person or through surrogates if he truly wants to chair the mining committee and produce effective, efficient and acceptable results”, He advised.
According to Solomon, the minister should double-check every report submitted to him before going to the public to avoid certain fallacious pronouncements. Statements like “the water bodies are better than before” and “the last group of samples we tested was just last two months” are very unfortunate.
Solomon mentioned that he has driven through the Obuasi-Dunkwa road severally and can state with much conviction that the river was far better before the inauguration of the inter-ministerial committee than now.
He took a video on Sunday July 3rd, 2018 on the river and that alone can be enough evidence to dispute the professor’s statement. Also, Solomon has pictures that show the state of River Pra that crosses the Takoradi-Cape Coast highway.
“I now understand why the inter-ministerial committee of small-scale mining chaired by Professor Frimpong Boateng was preventing my team from entering the “galamsey” sites to assess the real situation on the ground. How long can you intimidate everyone and peddle lies to deceive the public?”, He asked.
Some members of Solomon’s team of Ghanaian mining professionals residing in USA, Canada, Australia, Norway and South Africa are currently in Ghana to conduct fieldwork to understand the “galamsey” issues, analyze the field report, recommend lasting interventions and advice the government appropriately.
Surprisingly, the team is vehemently opposed by the secretary and chairman of the inter-ministerial committee of small-scale mining that was put together by the president. Amazingly, the secretary, Mr. Charles Bissue threatened Solomon with operations vanguard brutality upon any attempt to conduct fieldwork in the mining prone areas.
Meanwhile, the sector minister, Mr. Peter Amewu welcomed the idea and encouraged the team to travel to Ghana and support the government with their immense knowledge, experience and exposure acquired abroad. The team is providing free consulting work to the government without charging a dollar but the government is supposed to provide the needed logistics such as vehicle, fuel and accommodation to visit all the eight (8) regions where small-scale mining activities are conducted in the country.
Although, Mr. Amewu promised to provide the logistics, he was able to provide a rented car and fuel that could last for visiting only two (2) regions. The team is yet to receive the rest of the logistics, especially the renewal of the expired rented vehicle and fuel to continue the fieldwork.
The coordinator of the field due diligence team in Ghana, Solomon has experienced different stages of intimidations, frustrations and threats for providing voluntary services which can help address this top “galamsey” issue of national interest. He was in Ghana from December 2016 to January 2017 and travelled to USA after president Nana Akufo Addo’s handing over ceremony. The extremely high turbidity of the rivers when driving through the Obuasi-Dunkwa and Takoradi-Cape coast routes could easily be seen.
With the introduction of the operations vanguard, Ghanaians thought their actions would solve the water pollution, land degradation and deforestation problems in the country but Ghanaians living in the mining areas are seeing worse things after one year and four months of forming the team.
After the president, Nana Akufo Addo’s call on Ghanaians in the diaspora to help the country with their knowledge and expertise acquired, Solomon decided to heed to the call by organizing some astute Ghanaian mining and environment professionals living both home and abroad to assist the government in the fight against illegal mining and regularise the small-scale mining activities in the country. He arrived in Ghana for this task in May 2018 and planned to leave around mid-August 2018.
Solomon pointed out that the current unimproved state of the water bodies in the mining areas are primarily due to some foreigners who operate alluvial mining and allegedly being supported by certain “big men” in the country.
On May 15, 2018, the Herald Newspaper published that this same secretary, Charles Bissue was involved in the current illegal mining activities in the country. The paper also disclosed that the respectable Chief Editor of New Crusading Guide, Mr. Kwaku Baako had already hinted the involvement of certain key politicians behind illegal mining activities in the country. Who are those key politicians? Please find the reference below.
“Information picked from my fieldwork showed that heavily armed personnel guard the foreigners to work in our forests and water bodies. How can the water quality improve? Why should we be enemies to our own country? Can you travel to China or any of the developed countries as a foreigner to degrade their environment with impunity? Bewilderingly, our leaders travel all the time and see what is happening in other countries.
Why do they not replicate their experience in Ghana to help the country’s development? Are we serious?” He questioned. Sadly, the Ghanaians who have currently been rendered unemployed were not mining in the rivers but the foreigners were rather involved in alluvial mining before the ban and some are still operating after the ban.
Just this month, thus after 1 year and 4 months of the ban, the operations vanguard team is still arresting Chinese illegal miners. On July 9 and 19, 2018, four (4) and six (6) Chinese were arrested respectively. The operations vanguard team has been arresting these foreigners since last year. Now, let’s analyse the following questions:
Who are / were the “big men” behind these Chinese? Who brought them into the country? What are the names of the companies for which these Chinese operate? Who are the directors or shareholders of those companies? The immigration and the police should investigate the contact people of the arrested foreigners and the type of visas issued to them before they travelled to Ghana.
This information can be obtained within 48 hours if our systems work. Again, let’s all check from the prisons and find out how many of the arrested Chinese illegal miners are in jail as compared to the Ghanaian counterparts. These are questions for the inter-ministerial committee and we demand answers as citizens of this dear nation. Thank you.
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