Some chiefs and political figures in the country have been cited in a report by the Bureau of National Investigations for involvement in illegal mining.
The 31-page report details all the 216 districts in the 10 Regions of Ghana where galamsey is taking place.
National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament for Talensi in the Upper East Region, Benson Tongo Baba has been mentioned as being behind galamsey activities in the area.
An alleged financier of the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP), Bunyak Kolog, popularly known in Talensi as ‘Polo’ is said to be funding the activities of galamsey in the community.
An official of the Precious Minerals Office at Bolgatanga was cited as a sponsor of galamsey in Gbane, Blung and Datoku all in the Talensi district.
In the Ahanta West district in the Western Region, prominent chiefs in several towns and villages were found to be behind galamsey activities there.
An illegal miner caught in the Western Region
In Adieworsu, Jumako, Abura, Tontu and Mempeasem, some chiefs and their elders are said to be at the forefront of galamsey.
“Open pit galamsey activities are widespread in these areas,” the report remarked.
The story in Shama district in the same region is not different. Chief of Bokorkope, Nana Issah Muni is alleged to be involved in illegal mining activities in the area.
Lands Minister inspecting extent of damage caused water bodies
According to the report, the Bokorkope chief reportedly acquired a concession from the Minerals Commission and Shama district assembly under the pretext of winning sand but ended up mining on it.
Chief Executive Officer of Bupong Construction Limited in the Western Regional town of Twifo Praso, Prince John Baidoo has been cited in the report. The BNI said he is engaging in alluvial and surface illegal mining in the Twifo Praso, Beposo, Sekyere-Krobo, Sekyere-Didiso, Basase and Sekyere-Nsuta.
Five Chinese standing trial for mining in Ankobrah River in Western Region
There were only two regions that the report said did not have cases of illegal mining activities. Checks conducted within the Volta and Greater Accra Regions revealed that there is no illegal mining there.
The BNI report comes at a time pressure continues to be mounted on the President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo government to clamp down on illegal mining that is responsible for the pollution of the country’s water bodies.
Ghana is losing its water bodies and forest reserves to galamsey activities. From the Western Region right to the Eastern Region water bodies that serve as the major source of drinking water for residents are being polluted by the day.
Since the start of the efforts to end the practice, some gains have been made. Available data at the Lands Ministry reveals a total of 500 excavators used by some illegal miners have been handed over to the government.
The Minerals Commission has also said there has been a reduction in the quantity of gold that is traded by natives.
But the BNI report said it has gathered there is growing dissatisfaction with government’s campaign to end galamsey.
“The directives given to illegal miners to stop mining activities within three weeks by John Peter Amewu, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources…received mixed reactions from…illegal miners, residents of communities affected by activities of miners and the public,” te report said.
It cited the claim by some youth in the Brong Ahafo Region that government’s directive is not a sustainable measure in combating the menace.
Apart from the backlash the Lands Ministry has suffered, the report said efforts to end the practice has received a widespread commendation. “The general public was also unanimous in condemning collusion and involvement of some chiefs, politicians and security personnel.”