Gold mining remains one of the drivers of Ghana’s economic dynamics. The abundance of gold deposits in Ghana in the pre-colonial days earned the countries the name Gold Coast (Land of Gold). From the pre-colonial days to now post-independence era, the debate on Gold mining visas via illegal mining continues to be a subject of discussion.
Although the government of Ghana in the 1980s had streamlined the mining activities of Artisanal Small-Scale Miners, their activities, majority of the small-scale miners continue to operate without certified legal requirement and their operations continue to have numerous environmental, social and economic consequences.
Government over the years, especially in the fourth republic of Ghana, have failed woefully to address the issue of galamsayers or illegal mining. By definition, illegal implying not operating within the tenant of laws. So why should a sovereign nation with adequate laws fail to tackle an issue that is not permissible?
It must be noted that the activities of illegal miners affect the health of mining communities as they pollute water bodies or water sources. The use of mercury and other chemicals to attract goal have some health implications as most of those communities depend on such water sources for domestic use as well.
Again, water supply for dry season farming equally becomes a challenge and animals do not also get water to drink. It is unpleasant to allow the activities of galamsayers to destroy the livelihood outcomes of households and local communities. More so, the government could have been cashing more revenue from these small-scale miners if they were registered and activities regularised.
Over 85% of these small-scale miners are not registered and engaged in mining processes that continue to threaten the eco-system and the environment.
It must be acknowledged that political leaders have failed to demonstrate good leadership and policy commitment in dealing with the issue of Galamsay. We have seen and heard a lot of political commentaries and pronounced as well as setting up government task forced to crackdown on illegal miners. Sadly, there is no serious commitment as leading crusaders were involved in corrupt practices in dealing with the menace.
It more shameful and disgusting that, foreign nationals, connive with some traditional rulers and other private citizens of Ghana to engage in illegal mining. Countries such as China will not tolerate this kind of illegal mining activities in their land, and we stand aloof and accommodate them to destroy our land and water resources for self-gains. Indeed, the government has failed us, citizens have lost the reality of nationhood and patriotism. There is no better description of Ghana as a failed state since leadership cannot protect our natural resources.
It should be noted that in the regime of sustainable development, we cannot as a country allow foreign nationals and even Ghanaians to engage in illegal mining activities. We cannot continue to shield few people to destroy our natural resources for their selfish gains. There is only one way-out, the government must rise above political gimmicks and demonstrate leadership in dealing with the growing spade of galamsay in the country.