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“We need to stop illegal mining and preserve our environment for the generations yet unborn,” the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, has stated.
According to him, the crusade against illegal mining is being done to save Mother Ghana from going extinct. He said: “Galamsey (illegal mining) did not start today. Lack of political will has hampered the solutions against it,” stressing that, “we find ourselves as prisoners by these people who have been able to destroy all our water bodies.”
His Royal Majesty recounted that when he visited Manso recently and he stopped over at Asanko Mines, the first question he raised was on the devastation of the environment.
Otumfuo told the Akufo-Addo government, through John Amewu, Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, that actions of illegal miners led to the closure of the multinational AngloGold Ashanti (AGA) mine, which was under great investment then.
Lands and water bodies have been destroyed, owing to activities of galamseyers, and that if we stop them, “with time, our water bodies will be clean as it used to be in the years gone by.”
The Asantehene was emphatic: “If we lose our last water, nobody will be able to live in this country, just like felling of trees.”
Demystifying the anti-galamsey campaign, the Ashanti King, who spoke through a linguist at the Manhyia Palace, asserted that the crusade was not a parochial interest, rather for the generation yet unborn.
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II made this pronouncement when the Land and Natural Resources Minister, Mr. John Peter Amewu, paid a courtesy call to him ahead of an anti-galamsey tour of the region.
He hailed Mr. Amewu for the boldness showed in the fight against the menace. He stated: “Mr. Minister, stay on mission with your other ministers in the anti-galamsey crusade, and we are supporting you.”
Touching on the repercussions faced by the registered small-scale miners, Otumfuo explained that much as the embargo is in full swing, the miners ought to be blamed, although some of them have contracted loans to mine, for not drawing the attention of the government to the magnitude of devastation caused by the unregistered miners in the pollution of the environment.
The Golden Stool occupant told Minister John Peter Amewu that issues surrounding galamsey are multi-faceted, and that Ghana needed bold decisions to confront it amicably.
In a remark, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II asked:” Why is gold destroying Ghana?”
According to him, the South African capital city of Johannesburg was built with gold, but same cannot be said about Ghana.
The Asantehene expressed worry over the inability of the constitutionally-backed Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Minerals Commission to nip the menace in the bud, and rather allowed it to turn into a national crisis.
He bemoaned: “The EPA and Minerals Commission never did anything to protect our environment,” explaining that the Minerals Commission is the institution which issues licenses for the EPA to monitor and ensure that the environment is in order.
He asked: “What are we doing about it?”
While the Asante King is in support of the crusade against illegal mining, he urged the government to put things in place to find alternative means of employing these “gentlemen”.
The Golden Stool occupant told the government: “Let us present a blueprint to the World Bank, UNESCO, Australian government to assist us in the reclaiming of our lands, which will provide jobs in turn for these miners,” adding that “upon completion of the reclamation, the lands can be used for agricultural purposes.”
Source: Richard Owusu-Akyaw || The Chronicle, Manhyia Palace, Kumasi