In, 2017 the nation set herself up to what was termed the End Galamsey Now fight. This saw the ban on small scale and illegal mining. Operation Vanguard was setup comprising of the military and other state security agencies, i believe we are aware of the verdict of this operation. It was not successful. I thank H.E the president for his call for this National Dialogue and to tease out what the way forward should be in this conversation.
In this piece I seek to put forward my views on the best way to manage this ever ending challenge. This is a pure technical view point from a Natural Resources management person not a politician.
There is a long held view that has not been disputed that is;
Natural Resources can NEVER emphasis on Never, be Policed That is my position on the current approach. The difficulty with this approach is that the operators in this field are very resourceful and can corrupt anybody. The average operation Vanguard personnel’s monthly salary is about GH4000, if this person is offered GH100,000, more than 2years accumulated salary, can this person resist such a temptation ?? Absolutely NO.
Secondly, we talk about alternative livelihoods, it is very difficult to convince a Galamseyer who earns an average GH 5000 a week to go into farming. No alternative source of livelihood can sustain this person, who for a very long time have lived on such a weekly stipend.
These are the realities on the ground. And the reason this current approach will never work.
My suggestion for the way forward
#Ban mining in water bodies to save our water resource.
#Enforce the regulations on buffer between mining sites and water bodies which is currently about 100m( In fact increase it to 1000m ie 1km)
#Decentralise the Minerals Commission so as to reduce the difficulties in issuing mining licence.
#Decentralise the EPA( set up District offices to improve monitoring and environmental regulation.
# Equip the EPA with Morden monitoring and surveillance equipment and personnel to ensure proper environmental standards adherence
#Promulgate *Reclamation Tax* and set up a land Reclamation Division under the EPA whose sole responsibility will be to reclaim the mining sites. ( Faculty for Forest Resources Technology in KNUST where I trained has trained over 3000 land Reclamation experts with many currently jobless. The many degraded lands in these mining communities can be reclaimed, we will have good use our our human excreta and other organic waste that we are finding it difficult to manage, these materials can be used to reclaim the degraded lands
In conclusion let me reiterate my position on this subject. Policing the Gold Resource is not an option. Even in this era that we are pretending to Police the resources, the illegal mining activities are going on, the environment is been destroyed and the end product which is the gold is been smuggled out of the country. In 2018, it is reported that *$5 billion* worth of gold unaccounted for left Ghana to the United Arab Emirates. We can not be pretending to fight this whiles we lose at both ends.
Let us take a pragmatic decision to losen up the licensing regime, get the locals involved, tighten monitoring and regulation, tax the miners to reclaim the land. If this is done we will revive the local economy of these areas and will boost the economic outlook of the country.
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