Illegal Mining: Burning excavators not the right option – Kufour

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Former President, John Agyekum Kufour, has said that the burning of mining equipment is not the preferred solution to fighting the illegal mining, popularly known as the galamsey menace in the country.

According to him, it is best the country takes a second look at the strategies being used to fight the menace, noting that there can be a more preferred solution to the problem other than burning the excavators.

In an interview with Kofi Adoma on Angel FM, the former Commander in Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces said illegal mining is booming because the Ghanaians engaged in it mostly lack the technical know how to do proper mining.

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It is due to the lack of training that the foreigners have taken over the mining industry and has repatriate greater portion of the income generated from the ‘galamsey’ through illegal means to their countries.

According to him, the foreigners who are mostly the owners of the concessions use the illegitimate means to take the money out due to the illicit nature of the mining activities.

“The money that comes out of mining, larger sum of it is smuggled out of the country. The foreigner bought the excavators and chamfans with his own money at huge costs. So he pays you a little, and the rest of the money, he smuggles into his country. He doesn’t export it through the bank of Ghana, because he earned the money illegally,” he said

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Attributing the greed to the economic hardship the indigenous people are experiencing in the country, he said: “when somebody who is poverty-stricken and hears of a gold mine, he will pick up his shovel and pickaxe and head there. The gold metal like a stone god. All over the world it attracts masses. Whenever people hear of the discovery of the mineral anywhere, they will engage in it.”

That notwithstanding, he blamed the malpractices in the sector on the lack of education and training on best practices in the country. “The use of mercury in mining is as a result of ignorance–the people are not trained and educated in mining,” he said.

He advised that the government continues to engage with stakeholders to find more appropriate ways of dealing with the menace, while suggesting that “mining areas should not be completely taken over by government but portions be allocated to people in the communities to serve as some source of income to them for a living.”

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