- "Let’s not think that illegal mining is so bad, because it has its positives, and it is also serving some very good purpose in terms of the local economies and the number of people that are being fed if you look at the galamsey employment engine."
Frank Boateng, a research fellow at IMANI Africa wants activities of illegal mining, popularly known as galamsey, to be formalised.
His call follows the renewed fight against illegal mining by the new Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Samuel Abu Jinapor.
Speaking on Townhall Talk with Kofi Abotsi, Boateng said government must reassess the sector to aid in the formalisation process.
“Let’s not think that illegal mining is so bad, because it has its positives, and it is also serving some very good purpose in terms of the local economies and the number of people that are being fed if you look at the galamsey employment engine.
“It’s a chain, I mean the linkages are so much and to me we really need to look into this sector and get it formalised so that we can have people work and work sustainably,” Boateng stated.
Foreigners into galamsey
According to the research fellow with IMANI Africa, the major cause of influx of foreigners into illegal mining is due to lack of access to finance by indigenes.
“If we really talk about foreigners in illegal mining, we only point to the Chinese, and you can’t go beyond them. So, it is a question of do our youth have the right financing support to help them get onto the mine and operate themselves? They don’t have,” he said.
“And even if they have, it is not big enough to put them into the scale they intend to operate, so they resort to the Chinese financiers who come in and sometimes they just takeover the land and say we want to operate and give you percentage at the end of the day,” he added.
According to him, losing GHC2.3 billion through illegal mining in 2016 alone must serve as a wake-up call for government to pay attention to the sector beyond the destruction of the environment.
Boateng believes formalising galamsey could help rake in more revenue and also help control the excessive pollution of the environment.
Watch the full show below: