We support galamsey war but… – Miners
Frank Osei, Chairman of the Ashanti regional branch of the Ghana National Association of Small-Scale Miners, has said the association fully supports the joint military-police taskforce put together by the government to fight against illegal small-scale mining (galamsey).
He, however, said the major concern of the miners is the lumping of both licensed and unlicensed miners together in the fight against galamsey.
According to him, inasmuch as there are people operating illegally, there are others who have obtained due licences to operate and those persons must be allowed to work.
The government on Monday July 31 launched Operation Vanguard before the deployment of the 400 military and police taskforce.
The Akufo-Addo government has resolved to uproot galamsey which is destroying water bodies, forests, and crop farms. The crusade is being led by Lands and Natural Resources Minister John Peter Amewu who says the “government is not anti-mining at all but we are a government that believes that the current methodology that is applied in the process is wrong, cruel and wicked to human generations in this country”.
Speaking on this development in an interview with Accra News on Tuesday August 1, Mr Osei said: “We have no qualms at all with the government’s efforts at dealing with the illegal mining in this country, if an action is illegal there is no way we can support that because it is criminal.
“Our concern is that we the members of the Small-Scale Mining Association have obtained the licence to operate, we have been certified by the regulatory bodies to work and so we should be allowed to work. Again, most of us went to the banks for loans to buy the excavators and the other equipment but now we can’t pay back these loans because we are not working, this is extremely frustrating.
“We will want to appeal to the government to delink the licensed miners from the illegal ones so that we can do the mining. After all, some of us are mining in areas where there are no rivers and so we don’t destroy any water body.”
He added: “We also want the government to include the association in the fight against the galamsey menace. These soldiers and the police who have been deployed, for how long will they remain in the communities? They will definitely leave at a point but the community members, some of whom are members of the association will continue to be in the communities and so the government needed to have included the association in this whole fight against the menace.”