‘Generals, foot soldier’ behind galamsey will face the law – President warns

The President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has said that both the generals and foot soldiers behind illegal mining, popularly called the galamsey, would be targeted and arrested to face the law.

He said none of them, if arrested would go unpunished but would face the necessary sanctions to serve as deterrent to others, adding the measure was part of interventions to stop the menace that has caused massive pollution of water bodies and destruction of arable lands.

“Distribution, manufacturing and sale of chanfung are now illegal, as part of measures, we have increased significantly the level of sanctions against people who engage in galamsey.  Today, Ghanaians who get involve would get a 15-year minimum sentence if convicted and foreigners would get as long as 25- year imprisonment if convicted,” he said.

The President who made this known at Nkwakaw, during an interview with the media at a local private station during his three-day tour of the Eastern Region, said the introduction of chanfung, excavators and other impactful machines had been a contributing factor to the massive destruction of lands and water bodies and was poised to flash them out of the country.

The President would inspect the construction of Nkawkaw-Abirem-Ofoase-Akim Oda Road, ongoing construction of Agenda 111, Densu Ceramics under One District, one Factory, commissioning of New Juaben South Municipal Assembly among other projects.

The President said before the sentences slated, suspects were convicted on misdemeanor “but I was determined to ensure that it is changed to felony and all of these review of law and interventions is made to strengthen fight against galamsey and I am determined to stop illegal mining to the point I put my presidency on the line. I would want to make a substantial change in the area of mining before I leave.”

President Akuffo-Addo was glad that his government has started a change in the area of mining through several advocacies, noting that the issue of galamsey has become a national issue in the history of the country, adding that “in a democratic dispensation, if you want a change the first thing to do is advocacy to change public opinion.”

He said the government was taking concrete measures, and would continue Operation Halt which had begun again.

“The problem was that we disengaged too quickly, once the first plot has gone through, this year we have decided to use the whole year to maintain Operation Halt especially, the fight on our river bodies. Surveyors have taken charge of impactful machines, excavators and chanfung and they are being destroyed because it our major problem in our mining.”

He revealed that alternative measures including community mining exercise, buying of more speed patrol boards to control river bodies, recruiting river guards to support the operation, were been put in place to stop illegal mining.

Speaking on the issue on banning all forms of mining, he said the idea has to be examined stating that some lawful small scale mining contributed significantly to the national output, adding 40 per cent of gold export from Ghana came from small scale mining community.


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