Some call it environmental suicide, others too refer to it as the lynching of the environment, all in the name of the recent spate of massive destruction being witnessed in Ghana’s protected reserves, as a result of the activities of illegal mining.
But, members of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners (GNASSM) are not ready to take any blame for what is happening to the environment, and are pointing accusing fingers on some politicians who they described as novice in the mining sector but are forcing themselves to be miners.
Speaking in an interview at a fund-raising ceremony and the end of year 2020 awards night in Kumasi, the National Vice Chairman of the Association, Mr. Sampson Kofi Wiredu, noted that, the politicians who wield so much power are rather destroying their work.
“We can do it better, regulate and allow us to work without any interference and stop the politicians” he told government.
He added “Our members under this umbrella are strictly regulated and ready to be regulated under any government measures. They will never do things contrary to the mining regulations. Those destroying the environment are the illegal miners and some politicians who have no expertise but only engage in these activities and attach our reputation to the dirt”.
He therefore urged members of the Association to unite and make their case to the government in order for them to succeed.
On land reclamation, Mr Wiredu disclosed that, GNASSM has set up a committee that always ensure that old mining sites are reclaimed and handed over to the communities. “So we have our rules that regulate our members, and none of our members is permitted to do anything contrary” he added.
He also called on government to provide the standard measures expected of small-scale miners and they are ready to cooperate.
The Ashanti Regional Chapter chairman of the Association, Mr. Frank Osei, on his part commended members for their commitment despite the Covid-19 crisis. He expressed worry over how some people get confused over what is classify as illegal mining (galamsey) and legal mining.
He explained that, the small-scale miners are registered and known through the legal process, whiles the illegal miners (galamsey) are those who do it without any legal approval and expertise. He therefore appealed to the public to desist from merging the two.
By Nana Peprah