The Minister-designate for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor, says when he is approved he intends to organize a national consultative forum to fashion out strategies to deal with the illegal mining (galamsey) menace.
The galamsey problem was one of President Akufo-Addo’s biggest challenges in his first term, one that many feel he failed at addressing despite the significant resources and efforts invested.
Just last week, some soldiers were accused in press reports of providing cover for illegal miners degrading the forest of Manso in the Ashanti Region. The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF) has said it is investigating the matter.
“When I get the opportunity, God willing, the strategy is simple. The president has been clear: he is not against mining, but he is keen to protect the environment, so we all have to agree to the laid-down rules,” said Mr. Jinapor in an interview with Business24.
“I think we have to have a national consultative forum, where the mining associations, chiefs, Parliament, the media, the ministry, and local communities will be present, for us to agree on the way forward. We then have to implement it without fear or favor,” he added.
Illegal mining operations have caused detrimental environmental effects in many communities across the country, including contamination of rivers and the destruction of forests.
Reports suggest there may be about 200,000 people engaged in galamsey, and according to some sources, nearly 3 million people rely on it for their livelihoods.
Currently, the Ghana Water Company is unable to produce water from some of its treatment plants because of the effects of illegal mining.
Some experts have warned that Ghana risks importing water in the next 10 years if illegal mining is not stopped.