Information Minister, Kojo Oppong Nkrumah, has given assurance that the government will overcome the new challenges in the fight against illegal small scale mining, commonly known as ‘galamsey’.
Mr Nkrumah who was contributing to a panel discussion on the galamsey menace on Newsfile and monitored by Kingdomfmonline.com on Saturday emphasized that “from 2017, not only has the Akufo-Addo administration upped the numbers of troops that are out there, not only was the inter-ministerial committee put together to deal with it but we also saw, first of all, a clear effort to clamp down on everything, both legal and illegal.
“This whole fight against illegal and irresponsible small scale mining, the President [Nana Akufo-Addo] mentioned quite clearly that he was supported by strong coalition. What I call a coalition of the willing – the Media, Operation Vanguard and even Citizens supporting, for us to achieve some success in there. What did we do? We were able to literally halt the entire exercise, now begin to regularise people who had licenses to go back. The illegal miners were trained and now were are giving them community mining concessions to work on,” he added.
The government has in recent times, come under scrutiny on its fight against illegal mining.
In 2017, President Akufo-Addo made public his desire to bring to an end all forms of illegal mining.
This saw the formation of an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining and subsequently launch of Operation Vanguard and GALAMSTOP, to lead the charge against galamsey operation.
Mr. Oppong Nkrumah acknowledged, however, that despite the government’s intensified effort to fight illegal mining, it has faced two main challenges.
“…one being the fact that as people are going out there, we are beginning to get reports that some persons are going back into the water bodies, some persons even those who are legal are resorting to the illegal methods.”
The Information Minister emphasised that the willingness of the President to bring to an end all forms of illegal mining stands out and needs to be supported.
“The President for me marks a major difference. When this fight started and you openly had people say that ‘Mr. President if you say you will fight this thing then we will not vote for you’ and the fact that traditionally we have been talking about political will. That is how much he believes that if we don’t fight this thing, in the next 10, 15 years, we will not have water to drink in this Republic,” he added.