•The US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan has raised concerns on the potential climate crisis of illegal mining.
•She believes Ghana’s ‘galamsey’ is on steroids hence the need to address it
•The government of Ghana has launched Operation Halt Galamsey to help deal with the menace
The US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie S. Sullivan, has lamented on the illegal mining activities destroying the country’s water bodies.
Speaking on Joy News, Stephanie S. Sullivan expressed that “Ghana’s ‘galamsey’ is on steroids now”.
“Galamsey was an issue 20 years ago and it’s kind of on steroids now. It’s not three people with a pan in the river, it’s this heavy machinery, a lot of deforestation going on. It breaks my heart to see the Ankobrah River has just become so polluted from when we were here 20 years ago. I think it’s important to be in a position to be a steward of the environment”.
“We don’t inherit the land from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children,” she stated.
She also raised concerns on the need for the country to conserve the environment and promote sustainable agriculture and fisheries by “stopping illegal logging, mining, and fishing, and combatting wildlife trafficking and marine plastic pollution”.
Meanwhile, government has begun prosecution of persons suspected to have engaged in illegal mining activities, otherwise known as “galamsey” in the country.
Minister of Information Kojo Oppong-Nkrumah, who disclosed this at the government’s press briefing on illegal mining in Accra said so far, there are five separate cases facing different levels of state prosecution in court.
According to him, the cases are not exhaustive, and the Attorney General’s office is readying documents for more state-level prosecution of persons who have flouted the country’s mining laws.
Findings estimate $250 million is required to reclaim lands and water bodies affected by galamsey activities in the Western Region.
Ghana is recognised today as the second-largest gold producer in Africa. It is the undisputed mining hub of West Africa.
Illegal gold mining operations are criticised heavily throughout Ghana due to their detrimental environmental effects, which many believe outweigh any possible economic and cultural justifications.
The general public, the media, and academia have raised serious concerns about the negative effects of galamsey operations and have called for its abolishment, and the restoration of the many abandoned mining sites and spoils.