An advocacy group, National Youth for Peace (NYfP), has called on government to, as a matter of urgency, engage all illegal gold mining operators and factor them into the national afforestation employment programme.
“Viewing the recent government action on activities of illegal mining from a double-edged angle, it will be appreciated that while a good number of galamsey operators entered into the business due to lack of decent employment, others obviously went into it as concession owners with the intention of “making quick money,” the group said in a statement.
The statement, which was signed and issued by leaders of NYP including Mr. Sadik Abdul Halim Ahmed, Mr. Eric Baffoe Nyarko and, Mr. Konadu Asare and copied to Today, noted that the call has become necessary because the future of this country being the focus of “our goal stands tall even above the present state of economic struggles including the massive unemployment in the country.
According to the statement, NYfP holds the view that if the past leaders had focused on “our future today, most of our present socio-economic challenges would have been minimal or solved.” For this reason, the statement pointed out that individuals or groups of people should not be permitted to destroy “our ecology in place for employability and job creation.”
“While we share the pains and struggles of those unemployed and engaged in galamsey activities, NYfP attaches strong feelings in condemning the involvement of some opinion leaders, professionals and influential people in our society that engage in this “manslaughter” in pretence of small-scale mining operation,” the statement lamented.
According to the statement, the youth group chose these words, because it was evident from the destruction of the environment that there was little difference between the activities of those who acted illegally and those with licenses to operate on small-scale. Both operators seemingly were more concerned with their outputs and profitability than environmental protection which the law prescribed for their operations thereby wasting the future survival of life in this country.
According to the statement, it is commendable that the ministries of science, technology and environment and lands and natural resources took this bold step to stamp out the menace.
“We further call on government to re-assess the capacities and past activities of small- scale miners on their environmental protection and safety concerns should there be need to reapprove their applications to continue operations.”
Against this background, NYfP implored the Forestry Commission, Minerals Commission and the ministry to create an employment avenue to engage unemployed ex-galamsey operators into national afforestation projects as a replacement for the lost natural plantation, farmlands and water bodies that have been created.
Mineral & Mining Matters …with Freeman Koryekpor Awlesu