The President of the Concerned Small Scale Miners Association says its members have lost faith in efforts by government to stop the activities of illegal miners in the country.
Michael Kwadwo Peprah explained that this follows the abandonment of the Multilateral Mining Integrated project, a document prepared by Peter Amewu when he was Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, in conjunction with other stakeholders.
The document he told Samson Ladry Anyenini on Joy News’ Newsfile programme Saturday, was a sure way to holistically combat illegal mining in the country against the use of brute military force.
“That document was created after a broad discussion with stakeholders in the mining industry. After its completion, we found out that Mr. Amewu had been kicked out and replaced by the Inter-ministerial committee.
“They started the fight against galamsey putting aside the document we sat down and had agreed upon. The document had a short term, midterm, and long term plan,” he said.
Recently, the Environment Minister and chairperson for the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) disclosed that most of the excavators that were seized from illegal miners have vanished.
“The task force seized a lot of excavators and kept them at the various offices, we sent people to talk to the district assemblies, we got vanguard involved and we realized most of the excavators have disappeared,” he told Daniel Dadzie on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show.
President Akufo-Addo has said he do anything including putting his presidency on the line to stop galamsey.
He went ahead to set up Operation Vanguard, a joint task force of police and military to go into mining areas to stop galamsey.
However, anti-galamsey coalitions and other stakeholders have called the operation a failure after it emerged that illegal mining activities are still ongoing in parts of the country.
Highlighting some key reasons why galamsey is still thriving, Mr Peprah said the lack of mining lands in the country for locals to invest in is a major contributor as all the minable lands have been purchased by foreigners.
“People are engaging in galamsey because they don’t have documents; all these lands that we see are being owned by foreign companies. Ninety-eight of the minable lands in this country are being owned by foreign companies.
“They only come, take these concessions and they go sit outside the country. What they’re only interested in is they renew their document when the document expires.
“So somebody who is a prospective miner who wants to do the right thing is not being able to acquire the license needed to mine. And that is one thing that is breeding galamsey,” he explained.
He also stated that the conflict between large scale miners and the small scale miners over regulated land is another reason for galamsey activities.
“This is a conflict between small scale miners or galamseyers and then the large scale miners. This is common between large scale operators working within a proper regulated land framework and some small scale miners illegally working on the land over which they have no legal title to,” he said.
He, however, stated that a return to the Multilateral Mining Integrated project will be Ghana’s sure bet of winning the fight against illegal mining.