Members of the Council of State visiting an illegal mining site
Chairman of the Council of State, Nana Otuo Serebour II, has suggested that the district assemblies and the traditional leaders should be involved in the whole processes of granting licences and monitoring activities of small scale miners in the fight against illegal mining popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
He said, “I believe that if the locals are involved in the whole processes of granting, licensing, monitoring and subsequent investment, we can get far in our efforts in fighting against the galamsey menace because they can do the monitoring at the grassroots.”
He said that way “if any illegal mining activities take place anywhere in their communities, then the DCEs and the traditional leaders would be held responsible.”
He also indicated that the licensing regime of the mining companies must be re-looked, stressing that “we cannot continue to put the cart before the horse.”
Nana Otuo Serebour made the suggestion when members of the Council of State visited an illegal mining site at Teleku Bokazo in the Ellembelle District of the Western Region, as part of their three-day working visit to the region.
“Why should the Minerals Commission give permit to the mining companies before going for that of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)”? With this practice, it could happen that the mining companies would destroy the environment before EPA comes in,” he noted.
He also appealed to the media to renew their commitment to the fight against galamsey in the country.
According to him, Western Region is endowed with gold resources but the negative practices in mining, is hampering development in the area.
“There are a lot of illegal mining activities not regulated and monitored which are having negative effects on waters bodies and arable lands,” he said.
He stressed the need to ‘hold the bull by the horn’ in the country’s quest to win the war against illegal mining, and that could be possible through some fundamental changes in licensing and legislation as well as sustainability and livelihood alternatives.
The Council Chairman however, urged the Ellembelle District Assembly to consider vegetable cultivation on all reclaimed lands as alternative livelihood project.
From Emmanuel Opoku, Teleku-Bokazo