Media Coalition protests neglect in govt's roadmap to lift ban on small scale mining

BY: Zadok K. Gyesi
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey
Mr Kenneth Ashigbey

The Media Coalition Against Galamsey (MCAG) has slammed the government over what it describes as a neglect of the media and the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE) in the roadmap to lifting the ban on small-scale mining in Ghana.

According to the coalition, the role of the media and NCCE in educating and informing the public on issues of national concern cannot be over-estimated and pointed out that “for such a roadmap, stakeholder engagement and a communication strategy will be critical to the success of the project.”

“We therefore find it worrying that the roadmap for lifting the ban on artisanal and small scale mining and the way forward, fails to recognise the role of the media and its contribution to the success of this national fight,” it said.

Addressing a press conference in Accra Thursday morning, a co-convener of the group, Mr Kenneth Ashigbey said if the government had engaged other relevant stakeholders in the development of its roadmap to lift the ban on small scale mining, the loopholes in the roadmap could have been addressed.

“We could have contributed to enriching the road map and dealt with some of the issues that we are raising in this press statement. The timelines for all the intended' actions including lifting the ban on small scale mining are vague. Definite dates for the various intended actions and a completion date would have helped settle anxieties.”

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Mr Ashigbey said the roadmap also failed to clearly identify the role of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) which is an adhoc body.

According to him, it is important that the Minerals Commission or another body be strengthened and empowered to provide the day to day oversight needed for such an important national project.

He also said the group would like to know the steps government is taking or has taken towards the ratification of small scale licences to effectively put an end to illegal mining.

Mr Ashigbey said lands degraded through the activities of illegal mining needs to be reclaimed, adding that “to date, there is no clear information on steps being taken to reclaim these degraded lands.”

In addition, he said, “there have been several reports of galamsey activities in Ghana’s forests which is yet to receive attention from the government.”

He said, for instance, that the leadership of the Forestry Commission have been accused of complicity in engaging in illegal mining under the pretext of reclaiming degraded lands and thus called for an independent investigation into the allegations to establish its veracity or otherwise.

“We call on the President to set up an independent committee of experts from various relevant sectors to investigate the allegation. The Forestry Commission should be spared of being a judge and jury in its own case,” Mr Ashigbey stated.