The chairman of the Wassa Amenfi East Community Mining Committee, Asafoatse Nana Badu, says there is no way Ghana’s gold mining industry will be sanitised if Galamstop and Operation Vanguard operatives continue working.
He says instead of executing their mandate of protecting mining sites and river bodies from wanton destruction by galamseyers, these operatives are rather conniving with them.
According to Asafoatse, he has concrete evidence in the Amenfi area to prove that some Galamstop and Operation Vanguard operatives extort huge sums of money from illegal miners “to allow them do their own things”.
It is against this backdrop that he is calling on government, to as a matter of urgency, disband the two groups.
Asafoatse, who is also a constituency chairman for the governing New Patriotic Party, made the call at the first Ghana Gold Expo stakeholder meeting in Sekondi on Wednesday.
Ghana Gold Expo aims at promoting responsible mining, investment and retaining of earnings from gold and other mineral production. It is also a market to sell gold and produce gold that has premium.
Various stakeholders, including the Minerals Commission, gave their blessings to the event and offered suggestions for its success.
Asafoatse suggested that policing of illegal mining activities should rather be assigned to the various metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies, with support by unit committee members and traditional authorities.
He said an effective monitoring system should be put in place to check the operations of mining companies.
Asafoatse further suggested that all licenced small-scale miners should be made to pay a specified amount of money before giving them the green light to work on their respective concessions.
This money, he said, can be used to fill uncovered pits left behind after prospecting for gold. In his view, this is the only means of salvaging the environment from destruction, and not relying on Galamstop and Operation Vanguard.
Asafoatse lamented that apart from causing damage to the environment and water bodies, illegal mining activities are claiming the lives of the youth, adding that not less than five people die daily in mining pits. This figure, he said, excludes unreported deaths.
In an answer to a question as to what Western Region gets the required benefits for contributing over 60 per cent of the country’s total mineral production, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, the Regional Minister, said the national cake is distributed evenly regardless of which region produces most of the country’s resources.
He indicated that over 500 kilometres of road network in Western Region have been awarded on contract this year, adding that an amount of $100 million has been earmarked for road construction in mining communities in the region, particularly in the Tarkwa area.
The Minister also spoke of plans by government to develop the Tarkwa -Takoradi road into dual carriage and an impending sod cutting for construction works to begin on a Synohydro road project in Prestea.
Again, Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah mentioned the establishment of the GNPC Foundation headquarters in Takoradi as well as plans to construct its operational headquarters in the oil city.