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Eastern Regional Minister, Seth Acheampong says despite the numerous setbacks recorded in the war against illegal mining in the country, government has not lost sight of the fight.
For him, the resolve to end all forms of illegal small-scale mining otherwise known as ‘galamsey’ is still on course within the remits of the law.
“If you crack the whip, you hear commentators say it is high-handedness, but we are a determined and decided government. We are not complaining and throwing our hands in despair”, he said on The Point of View on Citi TV.
He rejected accusations pointing to the fact that government has never been committed to the fight against the menace.
The Minister mentioned that government losing out in the last election is somehow proof that state actions are yielding results.
“The president, in putting his office on the line, the party suffered heavily in the 2020 election in areas that had illegal mining. They voted against us. That is the risk we took”.
Mr. Acheampong emphasized that, “as we face this issue humanly and squarely, unfortunately, it is being made a matter of politics and it’s so depressing when you try to put your life on the line. This administration is poised to be responsible”.
In 2017, President, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo declared that he was prepared to put his presidency on the line in the fight against galamsey.
His declaration was amidst new measures such as the deployment of police and military personnel to arrest illegal miners across the country and the introduction of a community mining programme aimed at regulating small-scale mining in communities in an environmentally sustainable manner.
There have been complaints that the water bodies that were regaining their natural state at the height of the fight against galamsey are becoming polluted again due to the increasing activities of illegal miners in various parts of the country.
President Akufo-Addo again made public statements on the development, saying that there is a need for an open discussion on the subject.
The government, through the Ministry for Lands and Natural Resources, subsequently held a two-day National Consultative Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining that, among other things, urged the government to firmly enforce the country’s laws on mining.
Recently, the debate on whether the government is in control of the fight has been renewed following controversies surrounding the re-arrest of galamsey kingpin, Aisha Huang.