5 times Nana Addo promised to fight galamsey

Illegal mining operations, popularly known as galamsey, are heavily criticised in Ghana due to their detrimental environmental effects which many believe outweigh any possible economic and cultural justifications.

Galamsey

The practice of galamsey activities contributes tremendously to the local economy of the communities within which the practice is conducted.

The number of galamseyers in Ghana is unknown but believed to be from 20,000 to 50,000, including thousands from China.

The major cause of galamsey is unemployment among the youth in Ghana.

Galamsey damages the land and water supply and following the destruction, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo said he will do all within his power to put an end to the menace.

Pulse.com.gh lists the number of times Nana Addo promised to stop galamsey.

In 2018, the government imposed an initial six-month ban on small-scale mining 2017. Since then, the ban had been extended on some occasions to enable the government to sanitize the sector.

The extension of the ban has incurred the wrath of small-scale miners who have, in the last few months, been agitating against the long imposition, saying that the action has brought untold hardships on them and their families.

The President in announcing the government's decision to lift the ban said the road map would address, among others, issues of reforestation and reclamation of mine-affected areas, restoration of water bodies, strict supervision of the processes of awarding mining licenses and associated permits, and the establishment of a mercury pollution abatement project.

He said the comprehensive map would also include the implementation of alternative livelihood projects for illegal miners, the systematic control of the engagement of excavators in mining areas, and the continued regularisation of the small-scale mining sector.

"When the ban is lifted, you will have the responsibility to preserve our lands, water bodies, and environment. We all have a duty to say no to galamsey for our own common survival and the survival of those who are to come after us," he said.

In 2017, President, Nana Akufo-Addo has put his presidency on the line with a commitment to end the illegal small-scale mining popularly called galamsey in Ghana.

Rallying Ghana's traditional leaders together the president, said if there is one right thing to be done, that thing is for all to fight galamsey, reclaim the lands and leave for posterity a "green country" and a "clean space."

He was addressing a forum against illegal mining organized chiefly to get Ghana's chiefs involved in the fight against illegal mining.

Ghana's future is in limbo with a huge chunk of its environment under siege from boisterous young men and women who are digging every inch of space in mineral-rich areas of Ghana in search of gold, diamonds, etc.

They have polluted many rivers, cut down many trees, and destroyed many farms all in search of gold.

These miners are mostly funded by influential kingpins. Their activities are threatening the very survival of the country, leaving the government no choice but to declare war on galamsey.

In furtherance of this war, some miners have been arrested, excavators have been seized all in a desperate move to end the canker.

"We all know that we have been in difficult times and at times like these there is a need to keep body and soul together. Every man has a duty to provide for the family and sometimes uses every means possible.

"But there are things we can't just allow to happen and one of them is the abuse of our heritage," he stated.

On Tuesday, June 7, 2022, Nana Addo reiterated that he will do everything within his power to galamsey activities.

According to him, this is the government's pledge to resolve to protect the country’s mineral resources.

Addressing a gathering on Monday, June 1, 2022, Nana Addo called for sustainable and responsible small-scale mining.

"It is to ensure that mining is carried out in a responsible manner as was done by our ancestors and in line with international best practices and conventions across all levels of operations. This, will in addition to helping eliminate the associated and negative practices, ensure that small-scale mining supports the government's drive to optimize the earnings from mining in pursuit of progress, development, and prosperity for all Ghanaians.

"When I called for a national dialogue on small scale mining, I was convinced and I am still convinced that small scale mining should and can be done sustainably and that several of our compatriots who are mining responsibly and are applying the protocols which have been established by the Minerals Commission, the government will continue to support them and offer them its support," he added.

The President assured that the government will deploy appropriate measures to safeguard the environment.

"Let me assure you the government will not relent in its efforts to flush them out of the ecosystem. In accordance with Article 36(9) of the Constitution of the Republic, the government will continue to deploy appropriate measures needed to help, protect and safeguard our national environment for posterity," he added.

The President continues to reiterate his commitment to bringing an end to galamsey activities in the country.

The President in an interview on CNN's Zain's Exchange, on Monday, May 3, 2021, said his government has re-introduced measures to fight the menace, which is significantly affecting the country’s water bodies and environment.

He stressed that he and his government will collaborate with the military to bring an end to the menace.

"We are determined to come to grips with it. In fact this week, major operations are being authorized by me; the Armed Forces are to clear our rivers of all the equipment, the machinery that is devastating and polluting our environment and waters," he said.

On May 26, 2021, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo endorsed the destruction of excavators being used for galamsey in the country.

There have been public concerns about the destruction of the equipment, especially excavators with some suggesting that they should rather be seized and allow the court processes to determine what should be done with them.

President speaking at a sod-cutting ceremony for the commencement of a Law Village Project in Accra on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, said the destruction of the equipment being used to pollute water bodies and destroy forest reserves will not stop until the criminal acts are halted.

Despite the measures the government put in place to fight galamsey, some recalcitrant Ghanaians together with Chinese nationals continue to destroy the land and bodies.

On Wednesday, September 7, 2022, the Police arrested five Chinese as suspects in a special police operation conducted in connection with the missing Ellembelle excavators in the Western Region.

The Police retrieved one of the excavators that were reported missing.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Ghana has declared its support to the Ghanaian government in the fight against illegal mining activities.

The Embassy has asked all Chinese citizens in Ghana to abide by the laws of the land.

Also, a Chinese national Aisha Huang, nicknamed 'galamsey queen' was re-arrested.

Aisha Huang has been re-arrested for the same offences on September 5, 2022.

Aisha together with three other Chinese nationals was brought before the court over charges including engaging in the sale and purchase of minerals without a license and mining without a license.

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