Fight against galamsey: Foreigners face 25 years jail term


    The Government of Ghana, through a project management approach, shall be placing a moratorium on illegal mining for one year, in order to regain the arable farmlands and aquatic life of the rivers.

    The ban would be a subset of a proposed five-year Multilateral Mining Integrated Project (MMIP) to check the once upon a time artisanal activity, which, hitherto, had devastated major water bodies and fast depleted farmlands.

    To ensure that the twelve months, ban on illegal mining, known as galamsey in the Ghanaian parlance, was enforced, John Peter Amewu, Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, told The Chronicle that 14 courts had been instituted by the Chief Justice to hear cases on galamsey.

    Three strategies in the Project Management Approach are to enforce legislation, where a foreigner who engages in galamsey would be jailed 25 years, and five years for nationals.

    The rest are the use of social interventions with minimal force, and lastly, using hi-tech technology to trap persons who would surreptitiously be caught engaging in illegal mining.

    The Minister told The Chronicle yesterday, on the sidelines at the ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, where the sector Minister, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, hosted foreign missions from Africa and Latin America to an interactive meeting at different times.

    The meeting was to afford the Lands and Natural Resources Minister show a documentary on how galamsey has destroyed farmlands and river bodies in eight regions of the country to the guests.

    With this background, the Ministry entreated the foreign missions to collaborate with the government to halt the illegal mining activities.

    Mr. Amewu held that the government was not against mining, but “the methodology in the past 20 years has been injurious to the environment and humans.

    He mentioned that Ghana’s failure to stop galamsey all these years is its inability to enforce laws due to lack of political will, and how some of its security operatives had been compromised, saying: “This total lawlessness has been Ghana’s weakness.”

    Government, he said, believes in private-public partnership, and to this end, Mr. Amewu explained that the government would re-categories small-scale mining, by introducing medium-scale mining. That way, all such artisanal miners would be captured in the tax net.

    In 2016, Ghana lost $23 billion as uncounted revenue to galamsey, only for the country to turn around to look for $250 million to reclaim degraded lands in the Western Region alone.

    A confident looking Minister of Lands and Natural Resources said the government would ensure that all devastated galamsey sites are reclaimed