Give us '1-factory, 1-district' before you stop galamsey – illegal miners tell gov't

Some illegal small scale miners at Bonsa in the Tarkwa Nsuaem municipality of the Western Region have asked the government to exercise caution in its attempt at clamping down on their activities. The upsurge of illegal small scale mining, popularly referred to as galamsey, has destroyed the country’s vast arable lands, farmlands and polluted water bodies and the environment, raising fears of serious repercussions in the coming years. Concerns over the menace last week caused the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, John Peter Amewu, to issue a three-week ultimatum to all illegal miners to cease their operations or face the full rigours of the law. Already, civil society groups and others, including the Ghanaian media, have teamed up to support efforts of government to stop galamsey in the country. However, before the government swing into full gear, the illegal miners at Bonsa, a small farming community where galamsey has become pervasive, want the government to be cautious in its new attempt. The illegal miners told Takoradi-based Connect FM, that it is important for government to create job avenues for them before embarking on the drive to end galamsey which they say have become their only source of livelihood. They specifically appealed to the government to first implement one of its key employment programmes; the establishment of one factory in every district of the country so they could get alternative source of livelihood. With a population of about 45,000, Bonsa has become a hotbed for galamsey operation in the Tarkwa area, and is being driven by mainly the youth who say their educational background cannot get them the few available jobs. Some of the galamsey operators emphatically told Connect FM it would be impossible for the government to stop galamsey without alternative jobs. They said the collapse of the Bonsa tire company, which was a major industry that used to absorb the youth, escalated the galamsey activities in the area. Meanwhile, they claimed to have suspended their activities for the past two months because they are being haunted by the government.

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By Loveridge Ampratwum Okyere|Connect FM|]]>