The Ghana National Association of Small Scale Miners (GNASSM) says there has been a drastic reduction in the activities of illegal mining following government’s ultimatum to unregularised workers.
In a statement from the association, executives elaborated on efforts it has made to help government address the destruction caused to the environment through the illegal search for mineral resources.
The Association said that it has conducted extensive removal of dredgers from major river bodies including Birim, Pra, Ankobra, Ofin and several others.
“Illegal mining that went on in most of the forest reserves have ceased due to constant interaction with the ‘galamseyers’,” the statement said.
It went on to add that over 500 excavators have been removed from these illegal mining areas with the help of the Association’s task monitoring force in the various mining districts while galamsey pits have been closed.
Government issued a three-week ultimatum to illegal miners to halt their operations or face criminal actions for degrading the environment and polluting water bodies.
Since the coming into force of the ultimatum, a media coalition of broadcast houses, online platforms, newspapers and other civil society organisations has been formed to campaign against galamsey and that has resulted in many illegal miners going into hiding and reducing their activities.
Though the fight is against illegal mining, some civil society organisations and traditional rulers are also accusing small-scale miners, who are licensed to undertake mining, of committing the same environmental degradation crimes as illegal miners.
But the statement noted that small-scale miners do not operate like galamsey operators but rather comply with global rules and regulations in ethical mining and are not endangering the environment and river bodies.
The statement noted that small-scale miners are ready to collaborate with the Land and Natural Resources Ministry and its agencies to ensure that illegal miners are engaged to find alternative livelihood support for them.
“We will entreat all illegal miners that have been affected to stay calm; it is not the intention of government to deny them of their livelihood but for the total good of the country,” it added.