Assist the people to do proper mining, regulate and supervise them – Govt told

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Natural Resources Management Consultant Mr. Gideon Ofosu-Peasah has cast doubt over the claim by the National Alternative Employment and Livelihood Programme (NAELP) that about 80,000 people whose lives depended on illegal mining have been given an alternative livelihood.

Speaking on 3FM Sunrise Morning Show on Monday 10 October, 2022, he told Alfred Ocansey that it is reported that about a hundred thousand people are involved in illegal mining in Ghana, therefore if indeed about eighty thousand of them have been weaned off through NAELP then the devastating effect of galamsey should not be as high as we are currently witnessing.

“We are just throwing figures around for obvious reasons and this is something that will not help us. If indeed about 80,000 illegal miners have been given alternative employment, then we shouldn’t have this current rate of destruction by galamsey activities. The impact of galamsey must be less” he argued.

Coordinator of NAELP, Dr. Louise Carol Serwaa Donkor disclosed to the media that a 80,000 people from five endemic illegal mining communities namely; Adinkra, Fufuo, Akwatiakwaso, Aktom and Terchire have been employed into the land restoration and re-afforestation programme which is the first module of the NAELP.

However, Mr. Ofosu-Peasah argued that when we go to the areas where the alternative livelihood projects are ongoing, you see that about 99% of them are women but the men are still seriously engaging in illegal mining. What this means is that if these alternative livelihood projects that are being thrown about are intended to sway people from galamsey then not much has been yielded.

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Again, the amount of money that is paid to the people on the alternative livelihood as monthly salary or stipends is woefully inadequate and unattractive to the illegal miners who make far more than that.

Going forward, these alternative livelihood projects should be research based to ascertain what the people really want. One thing we have gathered is that most of the illegal miners say they don’t need any alternative livelihood because mining is their alternative livelihood. “It is the women who are likely to take up those alternative livelihood jobs” he mentioned.

Ofosu-Peasah advised that the government should rather focus on how such persons would be assisted to engage in proper mining and do it sustainably.

“Help them do the mining well and properly regulate as well as removing the licensing, financial, geological and technological barriers. If not and we still want to provide them with an alternative livelihood, then if it is not going to pay them as much as they earn from galamsey, the alternative livelihood should pay them well” Ofosu-Peasah emphasised.

By Samuel Afriyie Owusu|3news.com|Ghana