Minister bemoans damage to environment
Nii Osah Mills, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, has bemoaned the damage being caused to the environment by Galamsey operators and urged those involved in such operations to help protect the land for future generations.
The Minister made the plea during a 3-day field trip to Gwira Kutukrom, Wiawso and Banso in the Western region to have firsthand information on the extent of damage caused by galamsey.
A statement from the Ministry signed by Ms Victoria Antwi Sarpong, the Head of Public Relations, summarizing the three-day visit said, Nii Osah Mills lamented the hazardous use of mercury by the 'galamseyers' and how the open pits left at these sites had become death traps.
The statement said the Minister addressed over fifty people found at the sites, who had come from various parts of the country to engage in Galamsey, and advised them to be mindful of their activities as their effects are harmful to this generation and generations unborn.
Meanwhile, two Chinese men were picked up at the site for investigation.
Nii Osah Mills further urged them to go through the process to acquire a licence if they wanted to mine, since mining could be done legally, saying that, Small Scale Mining is the preserve of only Ghanaians so they could form co-operatives and go to the Minerals Commission to legitimize their activities.
He advised them to take advantage of the Alternative Livelihood Programmes rolled out by the government, whereby lands and palm seedlings are offered to people prepared to go into farming, urging them to avail themselves to be trained for snail or grasscutter rearing that could earn them a decent living.
The Minister, however, cautioned the galamsey operators found on the sites to desist from their illegal activities to avoid being arrested next time he calls, while sensitizing the people at Gwira Banso, a mining community on the dangers of Galamsey and the need to regularize their activities by going through the right procedure. “Mining is legal but should be done according to the dictates of the law” he emphasized.
The Omanhene of the area, Awulae Angama Tu-Agyan II, expressed his appreciation to the Minister and expressed his willingness to assist him in addressing the galamsey menace in his jurisdiction.