Civil society group, the Economic Fighters League, has described as abysmal and disappointing, the government’s response to public outcry over illegal mining, which threatening the country’s environment.
The group said the destruction being caused by the activities of these illegal small scale miners is “an attack on the country,” hence require the Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to deploy the army to the galamsey areas to “fight and to free our country once and for all”.
According to the group, through the connivance of foreign forces, Ghana’s presidents over the years have entered into questionable contractual arrangements with foreign monopoly capital making the people worse off.
They are thus demanding that those multi-national companies which have taken over the country’s mining industry be sacked, claiming ” They are causing the same harm as the chinese and illegal miners”.
A statement issued by the group specifically mentioned Anglo Gold, Newmont, I AM GOLD Corp, Gold Fields Adamus Resources Ltd., African Gold plc, Moydow Mines International Inc., Pelangio Mines Inc., Perseus Mining Limited and Xtra Gold Resources as those companies which should be sacked.
They also want Article 256(6) of the Constitution, which vest the country’s mineral resources in the President in trust of the people, to be amended to put the resources in the hands of what it termed “an expanded body of trusted persons from the broader masses of the people”.
THE ROOT OF GALAMSEY IS THE FOREIGN DOMINATION OF OUR NATURAL RESOURCE SECTORS
The Economic Fighters League (Fighters) has taken keen note of the recent outcry over illegal mining otherwise known as galamsey especially as it relates to its effects on the environment.
Undoubtedly, citizens’ concerns about this phenomenon are well-founded. However, merely expressing their angst on social media is not enough. The government’s response to the recent hue and cry has been as usual abysmal and disappointing.
We take the view that this issue cannot be adequately resolved without looking at its roots.
Article 256 clause (6) provides that “every mineral in its natural state in, under or upon any land in Ghana, rivers, streams, water courses throughout Ghana, the exclusive economic zone and any area covered by the territorial sea or continental shelf is the property of the Republic of Ghana and shall be vested in the President on behalf of, and in trust for the people of Ghana “.
However through the active connivance with foreign forces, our presidents over the years have entered into questionable contractual arrangements with foreign monopoly capital making our people the worst for it.
In the gold sector, Gold Fields Limited of South Africa held a 71.1% interest in the Tarkwa and the Damang gold mines in a joint venture with Toronto-based IAMGOLD Corp. (18.9%), and the Government of Ghana (10%) (U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, 2005, p. 41).
AngloGold Ashanti Ltd. of South Africa operated the Bibiani and the Iduapriemopen pit gold mines and the Obuasi underground gold mine.
The Bibiani and the Obuasi mines were 100% owned by AngloGold Ashanti and the Iduapriem mine was 80% owned by AngloGold Ashanti and 20% by the International Finance Corporation (AngloGold Ashanti Ltd., 2006a-c). Golden Star Resources Ltd. held a 90% interest in the Bogoso/Prestea and the Wassa open pit mines and a 90% interest in the idled Prestea underground mine.
Newmont Mining Corporation of the United States held a 100% interest in the Ahafo gold property and an 85% interest in the Akyem gold property.
Companies exploring for gold in Ghana included Adamus Resources Ltd., African Gold plc, Moydow Mines International Inc., Pelangio Mines Inc., Perseus Mining Limited and Xtra Gold Resources.
In the bauxite and alumina sector, Alcoa Inc. of the United States held a 10% interest in Volta Aluminum Company Ltd. (Valco); the remaining equity was owned by the Government. Alcan Aluminum Ltd. of Canada held an 80% interest in Ghana Bauxite Company Ltd.; the Government held the remaining 20% interest.
In addition, the local workers in these companies make far less than their foreign counterparts.
So all ownership of the resources have been taken away from us. This is the root of the galamsey menace. To deal with it decisively therefore, the following drastic measures have to be taken:
1. We call for the full nationalisation of the Mining Industry in Ghana. Anglo Gold, New mont, IAMGOLD Corp, Gold Fields Adamus Resources Ltd., African Gold plc, Moydow Mines International Inc.,Pelangio Mines Inc., Perseus Mining Limited and Xtra Gold Resources Limited have to be sacked for good. They are causing the same harm as the chinese and illegal miners.
2. We call for the immediate amendment of Article 257 clause 6 of the 1992 constitution that vests all our mineral resources in the President on behalf of, and in trust for the people of Ghana to an expanded body of trusted persons drawn from the broader masses of the people.
3. Finally, the pollution of our water bodies and destruction of our environment is an attack on the country. If we have a President of Ghana who is the Commander in Chief of the Armed forces then we expect an immediate action of full deployment of the Army into the enemy held zones to go fight and to free our country once and for all.
This is the only way we can conclusively deal with the galamsey menace and its attendant impact on the society.