Don’t lift ban on small-scale mining – CSIR cautions government

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), has warned the government against lifting the ban on small-scale mining anytime soon.

It said the country’s water bodies and environment are still in a bad state due to the devastating effects of illegal small-scale mining still ongoing in some parts of the country. President Akufo-Addo earlier this week served notice of government’s intention to lift the ban on illegal mining activities within the framework of a comprehensive road-map to restore sanity to the small-scale mining sector.

Opening a two-day sensitisation workshop on the elimination of illegal mining in Ghana for traditional and religious leaders as well as queen mothers in Accra on Monday, President Akufo-Addo stated that the temporary ban on galamsey was supposed to be a measure to streamline the small-scale mining sector.

But according to the CSIR, lifting the ban will only worsen the situation of the country’s water bodies and land resources.

The Chief Research Scientist at CSIR Water Research Institute, Dr. Kankam Yeboah, said the polluted water bodies must be given enough time to get back to their natural state.

“Educate the public to see the need to stop. I won’t do that as long as we still find the recalcitrant ones doing that illegal mining. You can’t just lift it and say that is the end. Regeneration of this water and putting them right again is not an overnight process…. Let’s say you stop galamsey today, within 2 years. Once you stop, the natural system takes care of itself,” he said.

Some small-scale miners have registered their displeasure through various means over government’s extension of the ban on their operations.

Among their concerns are the loss of revenue and joblessness.

But the government has given the indication it will lift the ban soon after the comprehensive strategy to permanently tackle illegal small-scale mining.

A security task-force the government put together; Operation Vanguard, to fight small-scale miners has said it has achieved 75% success in its work.

‘Operations of the anti-galamsey task force.’

The anti-galamsey task-force was deployed to three regions; Ashanti, Western and Eastern about five months ago, to help fight and sustain the campaign against illegal mining, which was started by Citi FM a year ago.

Their operations have resulted in the arrest of illegal miners including foreign nationals, mainly Chinese.

The deployment of the joint police and military task-force came as a major boost to government’s fight against illegal mining in the country, following news of its devastating effects on the country’s land and water resources.

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