Government To Deploy Drones To Fight Galamsey

Government will soon deploy drones to monitor water bodies across the country in the quest to halt illegal mining popularly called galamsey in Ghana.

The Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi, made the disclosure in Kumasi at a stakeholders meeting on Friday.

She said Government will use technology to fight illegal mining and warned persons involved in the practice to put an end to it before the law catches up with them.

Madam Oteng-Gyasi, who is also the Member of Parliament for Prestea Huni-Valley in the Western Region said all excavators that will be registered for mining will have tracking devices to monitor its movements and operations.

She said Government is not against mining, but against the approach adopted by some miners which is destroying the environment and water bodies.

She therefore called for concerted efforts by all stakeholders to collectively curb the menace.

The Deputy Minister said Government will implement Multilateral Mining Integrated Program where miners affected by the ban on small-scale mining will be offered alternative livelihood program such as Palm plantation, agro-business, tree planting among others, to sustain them economically.

She said when Government lift the six months moratorium on small-scale mining, it will allow individuals to form co-operatives and be registered and issued with licences to operate while government provided them technical expertise to operate within the remits of the mining law.

Also a Deputy Minister of the sector, Benito Owusu-Bio, said about seven billion dollars was repatriated from Ghana in 2016 by foreigners illegally through illegal extraction of gold and noted that small-scale mining was for Ghanaians and would make sure the indigenes benefited.

He entreated Metropolitan, Municipal and District chief Executives (MMDCEs) and District Security Committees to collaborate to combat illicit mining.

He said the MMDCEs must hold public hearings in their various mining communities to explain the government directives to the people, saying every chief executive officer would be assessed based on key performance indicators.

The meeting was attended by youth groups from the NPP and NDC, some confirmed MMDCEs and some officials from the Forestry Commission.