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Mahama reveals how he will use AI to combat galamsey

Flagbearer of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), Ex-President John Mahama, has unveiled a groundbreaking initiative to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the fight against illegal small-scale mining, commonly known as ‘galamsey’.
According to him, the proposed AI initiative aims to precisely identify and locate small-scale mining and galamsey operations, track the movement of excavators, geo-fence all concessions to ensure mining operations are not conducted in unapproved areas, including water bodies.
He explained that the geo-fencing would ensure that mining activities do not encroach on unauthorized areas, particularly water bodies.
Speaking at the ‘3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale Mining’ hosted by the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani, Ex-President Mahama outlined his government’s strategy to leverage AI for enhanced monitoring and regulation of the sector.
He emphasized the critical need for technological innovation to mitigate the environmental devastation caused by unregulated mining activities.
“We will introduce and encourage technological innovation to improve capacity for coordinated monitoring of the small-scale mining sector and reduce environmental impact,” he stated.
Addressing the widespread concern among Ghanaians regarding the environmental damage caused by illegal mining, Ex-President Mahama asserted that his plan would strengthen coordinated efforts to regulate mining activities, thereby promoting sustainable practices and conserving the environment.
The NDC flagbearer’s comprehensive approach seeks not only to curb the illegal mining activities that plague Ghana but also to set a precedent for sustainable and technologically advanced mining practices in the country.

Fund for mining equipment
In addition to AI-driven monitoring, Ex-President Mahama announced the establishment of a special revolving fund to facilitate access to necessary mining equipment in gold mining districts.
“A special revolving fund will be established with the private sector to provide capital and a mining equipment pool in each district where gold mining is prevalent.
“This will facilitate easy and affordable access to relevant mining equipment,” he stated.

Ghana Mining Excellence Centre
To support these initiatives, Ex-President Mahama introduced the Ghana Mining Excellence Centre (GMEC), intended to be a hub for research and innovation in sustainable mining practices.
“I have announced the launch of a Ghana Mining Excellence Centre (GMEC), to be run initially for five years and coordinated by UENR and UMaT [University of Mines and Technology],” he noted.
The Centre aims to collaborate with scientists from global universities to implement joint research projects fostering green growth within Ghana’s mining and minerals industry.

National Joint Action Team
In addition to AI-driven monitoring, Ex-President Mahama proposed the establishment of a National Joint Action Team on Mining and Forestry.
He said the team, a collaboration between the Forestry Commission, the private sector, and small-scale mining operators, will focus on rehabilitating degraded forests and lands.
He noted that this initiative would also create thousands of jobs in the affected mining communities.
Ex-President Mahama stressed the need for collective efforts to address the legacy of environmental damage caused by illegal mining.
“At the same time, we cannot overlook the years of galamsey activities that have left our country with serious legacy scars.
“We propose some initiatives to restore degraded lands, rehabilitate impacted forests, and clean our polluted water bodies.
“These initiatives will restore the environment and create thousands of jobs in the affected mining communities,” he said.

Reclaiming and rehabilitating destroyed lands
The ex-President indicated that the joint action team would be tasked with reclaiming and rehabilitating destroyed lands, converting them into production zones for various crops.
This effort will be funded through special fees from the Minerals Commission, contributions by the Small-Scale Miners (SSM) Association, and interested plantation companies.

Atree4life initiative
To further support environmental restoration, Ex-President Mahama also announced the launch of the Atree4life initiative in mining communities.
This initiative aims to encourage the youth to plant economically viable trees, such as palm, shea nut, cocoa, and rubber, to rehabilitate degraded lands.
“A Galamsey Rehabilitation Initiative will work to convert impacted lands into commercial crop production zones, such as palm, shea nut, cocoa, and rubber plantations.
“This will be funded through special fees from the Minerals Commission, contributions by the SSM Association, and interested plantation companies,” he added.

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