natural resources
Some natural resources

Ghana is noted globally as one of the countries that is naturally endowed with natural resources such as minerals, petroleum, cocoa, coffee, timber, shea nuts, and so on. These resources provide a source of livelihood to the people. It is therefore not surprising that mining serves as one of the major sources of foreign exchange in this country. For instance in 2014, the minerals and mining sector was estimated to have contributed GH¢1.24 billion to the state through the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA).  The revenue is used by government to develop the nation and improve standard of living among the people.

The mining sector also serves as a source of employment to many Ghanaians and miners 1some foreigners both directly and indirectly. People are employed as miners, accountants, security persons, drivers, drillers, operators of some heavy machines and so on.The sector is said to have employed 28,000 people in the large scale mining industry whilst over 1,000,000 people are engaged in the small scale gold, diamonds, sand winning and quarry industries. The sector attract both local and foreign tourists which is a source of revenue to the government. Mining companies also provide social services schools, potable water, roads, clinics, community centres, among others to the communities in which they operate.

Common risks that miners face include rock fall, fires, explosions, mobile equipment accidents, falls from height, entrapment and electrocution. Once in a while, there are

rescue workers
Rescue officials trying to save lives

also reports of flooding of underground workings. These hazards have led to the loss of many lives in this country. Workers at a mine are at risk of suffering respiratory diseases because of the dust from the mining coupled with the use of chemicals such as cyanide.  Noise is almost ubiquitous in mining. It is generated by drilling, blasting, cutting, materials handling, ventilation, crushing, conveying and ore processing. Controlling noise has proven difficult in mining and noise-induced hearing loss remains common among those who work in the mines. With all these, people still risk their lives.

Land left bare after mining

Usually after mining in an area, the land has to be put back to shape through reafforestation. Sadly, many companies and individuals who engage in mining are not able to do so and leave the land bare leading to erosion and its associated problems. A lot of plants and animal lives are lost because that piece of land was their habitat. The land can no longer be used for cultivation of crops to provide food for us.

In recent times, individuals and small scale miners have illegally hijacked the mining sector in Ghana. This practice is popularly known as “GALAMSEY or GALAMSAY

galamsey at PRA
Small scale mining

OPERATION”. Try as the government has to curb this menace, it is still on the increase. I think this is because some of government’s own officials and some of our own traditional leaders who are supposed to protect the land are rather fanning it. Everyone in Ghana complains and blame the Chinese as those engaged in illegal mining in the country. The irony of it all is that how can these strangers just walk into a country and start mining? How did they know that a particular area has mineral deposits? How did they get the land to operate on? When they started, why did anyone not stop them? It is our own people who do so. Our own community members give them the information about the availability of mineral deposits in an area, our chiefs gave out the land and we ourselves provide hideouts for them when the police come in search of them.

gold mine
A gold mine

We may have been doing these things because we did not know, now let me tell you this; our water bodies are destroyed through the activities of illegal mining. Water, we all know flows from one place to another so when water is polluted in one area, it is not only the people in that area who suffer the consequences. For instance, if the  part of the Black Volta which passes through Nandom in the Upper West is polluted, it is not only the people of Nandom who will be affected, because the black Volta flows into

Some households depend on River Pra

River Volta, imagine all the places the Black Volta passes through from Nandom to join the Volta. The water becomes unsafe for drinking and even for irrigational purposes because of the chemicals used in mining. The animals that live in water will not also be able to survive. River Pra and Ofin are two rivers that have become highly polluted because of the activities of galamsey operators in Ghana even though many people depend on these rivers for household use. Do you know the number of people who might have lost their lives because they used water from a polluted source? do you know the number who have fallen sick? And do you know the number who are yet to fall sick and the number yet to die?

School children who are located in communities where galamsey operations are

Some young children at a galamsey site

carried out run away from school to engage in the mining. When children get money from mining, it may become very difficult for them to go back to school. If we say children are the future of this nation and education is the key to the future, how are we going to have the future leaders that we dream of if they do not go to school? That children who has run away from school today to engage in galamsey may be the future CEO of ANGLOGOLD or NEWMONT, that child may be the President, the Supreme Court Judge, the Teacher that your community dreams of, the Doctor who will save your life some day. So, do we have to sit down and allow these young people to kill their dreams? NO! Lets help and encourage them to nurture these dreams.

river pra
River Pra

In as much as we may be going through hard times and need to survive, we do not have to let our children engage in activities that are risky, we do not have to sell our land for peanuts, we do not have to hide those who are destroying our land, and we do not have to abuse the security agencies be it verbally or physically when they try to protect our environment. What kind of future are we preparing for our children’s children’s children? Will there be anything left for them after we are gone? Together, we can be the change we want to see. Let us come together and build the GHANA that we all dream of; a Galamsey free Ghana! CHEERS!!!



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