President Nana Akufo-Addo has called on traditional leaders to join in the fight against illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’ as the activity destroy water bodies across the country.
Addressing the National House of Chiefs in Kumasi on Wednesday (5 October 2022), Akufo-Addo said his government is not against mining, but activities that will lead to the destruction of the environment.
He said the campaign should be devoid of partisan politics to achieve its goals.
Akufo-Addo said all hands must be on deck to protect the environment, adding the campaign “can only succeed if it is a truly national battle.”
“No one seeks to exploit [the fight against galamsey] for political gains as we saw in the last election.
“The progress of our country depends on all of us, all citizens of Ghana, all fellow Ghanaians, pulling together to defeat this existential threat to our future,” Akufo-Addo said.
“I ask all of you to join hands with me in the fight against illegal mining in order to bring to an end the devastation of our lands and the pollution of our water bodies,” he added.
Although Ghana requires permits to mine on a small scale, it is estimated that about 70% of small-scale miners are unregistered and operate illegally. They are known locally as galamsey, meaning to “gather and sell”.
While illegal mining supports livelihoods, it has caused severe damage to the environment. It is blamed for destruction of farmlands and pollution of water bodies. It also denies the state revenue: an estimated US$2.3 billion in 2016, reports The Conversation.