The fight against Galamsey (origin of the term: gather them and sell) is almost won. It is almost won largely because of the commitment of government supported by some major stakeholders in the country such as political parties and coalition of some media houses. This fight has become necessary due to the debilitating effect of this illegal mining activity on the environment and its implication for our children yet unborn.
However, I am a bit skeptical if this battle can be totally won just by asking these ‘galamseyers’ to leave the site. My skepticism is promised on the fact that the laws governing mining appears to have rather encouraged the ‘defilement’ of our environment and the destruction of our water bodies especially.
Reading through the Minerals and Mining Act, 2006 (Act 703) one cannot but be marvel at the framers of such an act. And I quote one of such sections, section 17 to be precise.
“subject to obtaining the requisite approvals or licences under the Water Resources Commission Act 1996 (Act 552), a holder of a mineral right may, for purposes of or ancillary to the mineral operations, OBTAIN, DIVERT, IMPOUND, CONVEY and use water from a river, stream, underground reservoir or watercourse within the land the subject of the mineral right.”
Now, If we have a law sitting in our books that allows a river or stream to be DIVERTED for the purpose of mining and nothing is being done about such laws, then I beg to say, the fight against illegal mining (galamsey) may not achieve the ultimate goal of protecting our water bodies from being destroyed even by the so-called small scale miners or miners with a permit. Because the law makes the destruction of our water bodies legal.
I will therefore urge the Minister to as a matter of urgency cause for the repeal of section 17 of the Mineral and Mining Act, 1996 (Act 703) and the fight can genuinely be won.
The thought of Moro Kabore