Chief Executive Officer of the State Transport Corporation (STC), Nana Akomea, has called for a ban on the use of earth-moving equipment or excavators in the mining areas.
Illegal miners’ activities have over the years depleted Ghana's forest cover. Their activities also pollute water bodies due to the crude and unregulated nature of the mining process.
The introduction of sophisticated equipment, the use of dangerous chemicals and the recent influx of foreign – predominantly Chinese – miners have significantly exacerbated its negative effects.
Due to the bad effects of illegal mining, the President, Nana Akufo-Addo has deployed some 200 soldiers to remove all persons involved in illegal mining after his earlier promise in 2017 to eradicate the problem of galamsey “once and for all”, somewhat failed.
Galamsey & Earth-moving Equipment
One of the main equipment used by illegal miners in their operation which leaves devastating effects on Ghana’s land and water resources is excavator.
As part of government’s latest operations to rid forests and water bodies of the illegal miners, several excavators have been seized and burnt to deter the illegal miners from undertaking the activity.
But sections of the Ghanaian public have protested against the destruction of these mining equipment seized from galamseyers. Those against the practice believed the equipment could be auctioned or put to use by the government through the various assemblies in road construction or other beneficial activities, rather than burning it.
It would be recalled that in 2019, Government placed a temporary ban on the importation of these excavators into the country.
The decision was taken by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo at a Cabinet meeting on March 27, 2019.
The ban formed part of moves by the government after Nana Addo launched the then 'Operation Vanguard', a military-police joint task force to combat the menace of illegal mining.
It took effect from May 1, 2019.
However, a combination of governance shortcomings, criminalisation of the sector under President Nana Akufo-Addo’s first mandate failed to curb galamsey resulting in the dissolution of the inter-ministerial task force against galamsey.
Under mounting pressure from environmental advocates and youth groups, compounded by the need to restore investor confidence following several scandals affecting the extractives sector, a new "war" on galamsey has been launched under a different sector minister.
Consequently, so many Ghanaians including Nana Akomea in proffering ways to stop the menace, believes a collective approach is necessary.
Nana Akomea also holds the view that a ban on the use of earth-moving equipment or excavators for surface mining will help to curb galamsey.
“Let’s ban earth-moving equipment from surface mining ultimately…Don’t permit anybody to use earth-moving equipment”, he stressed on Tuesday's edition of Peace FM’s “Kokrokoo”.
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