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04 July 2017

Calls for ‘Galamsey’ Minister’s resignation premature – WACAM Executive Director – MyJoyOnline.com

Associate Executive Director of Wassa Association of Communities Affected by Mining (WACAM) says calls for the resignation of the Lands and Forestry Minister is unjustified.

Hannah Owusu-Koranteng says the case of more than 10 people being trapped in an illegal mine pit in Nsuta is not enough grounds to call for John Peter Amewu’s head.

“Any initiative that comes to any society will require that strategies are developed to fight the menace to be corrected. The campaign against galamsey has received a lot of goodwill from Ghanaians so the calls are premature.

She believes the fight against galamsey is not a one-off that can be pulled off within a week, month, in three months or six months since government does not have any statistic on the numbers involved.

Madam Owusu-Koranteng’s comments follow Minority member of the Mines and Energy Committee of Parliament Adam Mutawakilu telling Joy News Tuesday, that Mr Amewu “has not been able to perform to the satisfaction that Ghanaians expected and therefore he should go out”.

The National Democratic Congress (NDC) Damongo MP said African leaders must learn from international practice to honourably resign in the wake of government ineffectiveness.

He said this after the collapse of a mining pit in Prestea Nsuta, which has some 17 persons, trapped after more than 48 hours.

Residents, some of whom are desperately searching for the victims say, some of the trapped miners are responding to their calls and calling for help.

It has emerged that 17 instead of 14 people are unaccounted for in the latest galamsey disaster, which happened on Sunday.

Mr Mutawakilu said the tragedy exposes government’s failed efforts in fighting against illegal mining.

He described the tragedy as a “big slap” on the face of the Lands and Natural Resources Minister  Peter Amewu.

“He gave an ultimatum that come this day, there will not be galamsey in Ghana and we are hearing of not only galamsey but it is even killing our people” adding Amewu must be blamed for the failure of institutions under his Ministry.

But the WACAM boss said, considering that regulators are not well equipped to deal with illegal mining, it will be akin to fighting a losing battle until they are well supported.

She said the fight requires that more logistics are pushed into the office of the regulators to enable them to meet the difficult task of fighting the menace.

Madam Owusu-Koranteng said in the Tarkwa area, for instance, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has to deal with some many miners.

“There are the big mining companies, illegal miners, small-scale miners and their activities is not only the districts but they spread out to other areas. Because of the numbers, the regulators cannot match the problems thereof.

She appealed that government provides laboratories for the regulators to do their test on time to enable them to be effective and timely. 

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