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Galamsey reminder: The imminent ecological and food disaster



Galamsey, OccupyGhana, Newscenta, ecological, food, disaster,

Mr. President:

It is another Monday and the time for a reminder that Galamsey is destroying the country and that you need to act, and act quickly, to stem the looming and imminent ecological and food disaster.

We are yet to see any concrete step towards dealing with this Galamsey menace come out of your much-publicised meetings with chiefs and MMDCEs this past week; therefore, in the interim, our reminders will continue.

The actions of Galamsey operators are decimating Ghana, and the consequences are dire. This irresponsible mining of gold is causing and going to cause even more poisoning of our rivers with mercury and cyanide, rampant deforestation, and loss of our sources of drinking water.

A study that was published by Ghanaian and American researchers working with data from NASA satellites shows that between 2005 and 2019, Ghana has been losing about 2600 ha/yr of forests to Galamsey! That is 26 square kilometres. (Bareblitt et al, 2021)


By way of comparison, the city of Kumasi is approximately 254 square km. That means at the rate we are going, land the size of Kumasi is deforested every 9 to 10 years.

At the increased level of irresponsible mining that we are seeing presently, it could be faster.

This is loss of the farms that were and could have been on these lands. Also, not only the forests are lost but the very process of unregulated mining leads to the loss of the topsoil, making farming on these lands after Galamsey near impossible.

The country could be heading towards critical food insecurity at this rate!

Galamsey operators also use mercury to extract gold from the ore. The mercury is burnt off and the vapour is unfortunately inhaled by the miners.


Moreover, as they wash the ore, the unbound metal gets into the rivers and streams and also into the groundwater.

There are several reports of signs of mercury poisoning in several mining areas (Afrifa J et al, 2019).

Also, there is the possibility of mercury poisoning arising in areas far removed from the mining regions. With a national health budget that is already rather constrained, an epidemic of mercury poisoning is the last thing we want to add to our woes.

The excavating, removal, grinding and washing of the ore and the application of chemicals like mercury or cyanide to extract the gold have had profoundly terrible effects on our rivers and streams.

These activities not only pollute the waters, but also dumping of mine refuse leads to obstruction of water flow and increased flooding.


A good example of the danger is shown by work done on samples from the Bonsa River near Tarkwa Nsuaem by Dr Abena Obiri-Yeboah and her group at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi (Obiri-Yeboah, Scientific African, Sept 2021).

Turbidity levels – a sign of particulate contaminants – of samples from the river measured 155.75 NTU downstream to 207.0 NTU upstream.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation recommends a turbidity level of 5 NTU in water that is used for drinking and cooking. Mean mercury levels were measured at (0.045 ± 0.0062 mg/l) downstream, (0.061 ± 0.0227 mg/l) midstream, and (0.049 ± 0.0138 mg/l) upstream.

These numbers exceed the Ghana Environmental Protection Authority set level of 0.0010mg/l.

Mr. President, all this technical information must bother both you and your government, give you sleepless nights, and spur you to act and to show that you really care for the people of this country.


On 10 July 2017, when you were widely reported to have staked your presidency on ending Galamsey, you added that ‘it will be a betrayal of the trust reposed on me if i fail to end this.’

We recall these words, more than five years after you uttered them, with optimism that you will rise up to the occasion and rein in the irresponsible actions of those who seek to destroy this country. We hope you do it for God and our Country.

Yours in the service of God and Country



Nana tasks CID to probe Prof Frimpong-Boateng’s galamsey claims 



Galamsey, Newscenta, Prof. Frimpong-Boateng, Nana Addo, govt officials, CID,

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has directed the Police to investigate allegations by Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng regarding the involvement of some government officials in illegal mining activities.

Checks by The Finder with the Police confirmed that the directive was issued last week.

Special Investigation Unit

Following the directive, the checks revealed that the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Headquarters has commenced investigation into the matter.

The former Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation also alleged that even some staff at Jubilee House and New Patriotic Party (NPP) bigwigs are involved in illegal mining.


Ousted by persons in galamsey?

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng in a recent interview with the state broadcaster GBC alleged that he was ousted from his position to pave the way for NPP bigwigs and government officials to continue their galamsey activities.

“Let me tell you that I did not take one excavator for anything, they know the truth. Now things are coming up, we know those who are behind it and the party people who are there, people in government including Jubilee House who are doing galamsey and so on, even now.

“There was an orchestrated scheme, even within the party and government to get me out. Why is it that when I left now everyone is in the forest?”

Prof. Frimpong-Boateng’s son accused of mining in forest reserves


Jojo Frimpong-Boateng, the biological son of Prof. Frimpong-Boateng was accused of having links with a company called Symphony Limited allegedly involved in mining in Ghana’s forest reserves.

Audio recording

While in office in 2020, an audio recording surfaced online with the voice of Prof.   Frimpong-Boateng interacting with some persons believed to be NPP members and in the said recording, Prof.  Frimpong-Boateng was heard allegedly agreeing to granting them the green light to engage in galamsey.

Scandals of Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining

The Inter-ministerial Committee on Illegal Mining (IMCIM) headed by Prof.  Frimpong-Boateng was hit by a number of scandals including corruption allegations levelled against some of its leaders as well as claims of 500 excavators seized from illegal small scale miners missing.


“Though the excavators were seized and taken to the district assemblies, the heavy-duty machines disappeared later from the premises of the assemblies,” he said.

CID arrest 6 in connection with missing excavators

The CID of the Ghana Police Service on Monday 3rd February, 2020, arrested six persons in connection with the missing excavators and other seized equipment from illegal miners in the country.

Among them is the suspended New Patriotic Party Central Regional Vice Chairman, Horace Ekow Ewusi.

The others include Frederick Ewusi, Joel Asamoah, Adam Haruna, Frank Gyan and John Arhin.


157 excavators

However, the then Lands and Natural Resources Minister, Kweku Asomah Cheremeh, said his outfit had 157 excavators in its possession.

There were 122 excavators in Adentan, 26 in Obuasi and nine in Tarkwa.

Following the scandals Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo dissolved the IMCIM in January 2021 and assigned Lands and Natural Resources Ministry the lead role in the galamsey fight.













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 Anti-galamsey fight making Ankobra River clean 



Ankobra River, Newscenta, rivers, anti-galamsey fight,

The Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources responsible for Mines, George Mireku Duker has noted that the return of the Ankobra River and other water bodies to their pure status is a reflection of the strides made by government’s fight against illegal mining.

According to him, the progress made in the turbidity level of the waterbodies is indicative of the fact that the anti-galamsey fight is yielding results.

Speaking after the tour of the Ankobra River which is fast regaining its authentic and clean status on Thursday, 16th February 2023 , Mireku Duker commended the various stakeholders for their respective roles in the fight against illegal mining.

While commending the various agencies and Ghanaians for their efforts,  Mireku Duker maintained that government will not take its foot  off pedal and will press on with the measures that have resulted in the gains made so far.

He noted that the training of river wardens to compliment the Operation Halt II taskforce is another laudable initiative by government that has contributed significantly to the liberation of water bodies from galamsey operations.


He urged all individuals especially Chiefs, MMDCEs and the general public to join forces with government in its bid to protect the water bodies.

He reiterated government’s aversion on the ban of small-scale mining and expressed that government through the Community Mining Scheme and other innovations will transform the small-scale mining sector.

“We should take full responsibility of protecting Ghana’s river bodies.  We have roles to play including MMDCEs and we must all commit to protecting our water bodies.

“There are suggestions for government to close down small-scale mining activities but we are aware of the number of job opportunities created in the small-scale mining sector.

The DCE for Ellembelle District, Kwasi Bonzo said the people of Ellembelle will not sit down aloof and watch others destroy their livelihoods.


Dorcas Amoah, DCE for Nzema East commended the government for the Community Mining scheme in the area, revealing that many lives have been impacted positively by the innovative mining scheme

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Atewa Forest: Forestry Commission destroys galamsey equipment



Atewa forest, Newscenta, galamsey, demobilised, Forestry Commission,

The Forestry Commission has demobilized equipment being used for illegal mining in the Atewa Forest in the Eastern Region.

The demobilization was carried out at a mining site outside the Forest Reserve which has affected 0.6 hectares of the reserve.

A statement issued by the Commission said no one was found at the site where the illegal mining was taking place.
The Commission said it is working with Operation Halt II to ensure that no illegal mining activity takes place in the Forest Reserve.

It assured that the necessary steps are taken to reclaim portions of the Forest Reserve affected by the illegal activity.

The Commission said it has reported the incident to the Kyebi District Police Station and will work with them and other agencies to smoke out the perpetrators and deal with them.


It assured the public of continuous commitment to work with all stakeholders to protect all Forest Reserves in the country

It will be recalled that eleven persons who were involved in illegal mining in the Atewa Forest were given prison sentences of between five and 15 years.

Koforidua Circuit Court B sentenced them after they were found guilty of engaging in the dig and wash model of illegal mining in the Atewa Forest Reserve, contrary to the
country’s mining laws which bar mining in forest reserves.

The 11 convicts are among 55 persons who were arrested by officials of the Forestry Commission in 16 different operations in the Atewa Forest between January and April 2022.

A document detailing the progress report on the cases revealed that the 44 people were on remand at the time.


Three of the convicts – Alhassan Lariba, Foster Boakye and Kwaku Ampofo, who were arrested at the Pameng portion of the Atewa Forest, were sentenced to 3,000 penalty units, amounting to GH¢36,000 in addition to five years’ imprisonment.

In another case, George Asare and Godwin Ahadzi, who were arrested at the Asiakwa portion of the Atewa Forest, were fined 10,000 penalty units, amounting to GH¢120,000 or they would spend 15 years in prison.

Again, Isaac Kofi and Yaw Boadi, who were arrested in the Obourho portion of the forest, were fined 10,000 penalty units of GH¢120,000 in addition to 15 years’ imprisonment with hard labour.

Three other illegal miners – Bismark Dompreh, Kwasi Samuel and Kwadwo Baah – were handed 15 years sentence and a fine of GH¢1,000 each.

The illegal miners were arrested at various locations in the Atewa Forest, including Sagyimase, Pameng, Asiakwa, Ahwenease, Juaso, Obourho, Potroase and Apenaman,






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