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Open Letter to the President: Urgent Action Needed to Address Illegal Gold Mining and Protect the Black Volta River

By Emmanuel Dapaah Ntabaneejue
Letter Open Letter to the President: Urgent Action Needed to Address Illegal Gold Mining and Protect the Black Volta River
FRI, 14 JUL 2023 LISTEN

Your Excellency President Nana Addo Dankwa Akuffo Addo,

1. I write to you as a concerned citizen and a native of Bamboi deeply troubled by the escalating crisis of illegal gold mining, commonly known as Galamsey, in the vicinity of the Black Volta River, particularly in the Jama, Jugboi, Carpenter, and Bamboi areas. I bring to your attention the severe dangers posed by these activities, not only to the pristine water bodies but also to the surrounding communities, agriculture, and critical infrastructure, notably the Bui Power Generation Dam and Akosombo Power Generation Dam downstream.

2. The Black Volta River, once a symbol of natural beauty and a lifeline for numerous communities, is now bearing the brunt of unrestrained Galamsey operations. This illicit activity has caused irreparable damage to the delicate ecosystem, leading to the pollution of the river with toxic chemicals like mercury, cyanide, and other harmful substances. The consequences are dire, as the poisoned waters jeopardize the health and livelihoods of local communities who depend on the river for drinking, fishing, and irrigation purposes.

3. Furthermore, the encroachment of illegal miners into agricultural lands has disrupted farming activities, destroying crops and undermining food security for the affected communities. These destructive practices not only rob farmers of their means of subsistence but also push them into a cycle of poverty and despair.

4. Equally alarming is the threat posed to the Bui Power and Akosombo Power Generation Dam, vital pieces of infrastructure that play a pivotal role in Ghana's energy sector. The unregulated mining activities near the dam endanger its stability and operation, potentially leading to catastrophic consequences for the entire nation. A disruption in power supply would hamper economic growth, affect industries, and disrupt the daily lives of countless Ghanaians.

5. Your Excellency, the urgency to address this crisis cannot be overstated. I humbly request your immediate attention and decisive action to combat illegal gold mining in the Black Volta River area. I propose the following measures to curb this destructive practice and protect our environment, communities, and critical infrastructure:

I. Law Enforcement and Strengthened Regulatory Frameworks: Deploy additional resources, including personnel and equipment, to support law enforcement agencies in the affected areas. Enhance surveillance, intelligence gathering, and prosecution efforts to apprehend and bring to justice those involved in illegal mining activities.

Review and strengthen existing laws and regulations related to mining operations, ensuring stringent enforcement and severe penalties for illegal activities. Collaborate with international partners and organizations experienced in combating illegal mining to leverage their expertise and knowledge.

II. Public Awareness and Education: Launch a comprehensive public awareness campaign to educate local communities about the dangers of Galamsey, highlighting the adverse effects on water bodies, agriculture, and critical infrastructure. Promote sustainable alternatives and emphasize the importance of preserving our natural resources for future generations.

III. Rehabilitation and Restoration: Allocate adequate funds for the rehabilitation and restoration of the Black Volta River ecosystem. Collaborate with environmental experts, local communities, and relevant stakeholders to implement restoration projects, including reforestation, land reclamation, and water treatment initiatives.

IV. Community Empowerment and Alternative Livelihoods: Implement sustainable development initiatives, including skill training programs and microcredit schemes, to empower affected communities. Support the establishment of alternative livelihoods, such as eco-tourism, sustainable agriculture, and renewable energy projects, to provide viable alternatives to illegal mining activities.

6. Your Excellency, it is with a profound sense of responsibility that I implore you to take immediate action to protect the Black Volta River and its surrounding communities from the perils of illegal gold mining. I believe that your leadership, determination, and commitment to sustainable development will bring about the necessary changes to safeguard our environment, preserve our natural resources, and secure the future for all Ghanaians.

7. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter. I remain hopeful that under your esteemed leadership, Ghana will emerge as a shining example of environmental stewardship and sustainable development.

Yours sincerely,
***signed***
Emmanuel Dapaah Ntabaneejue
P. O. Box BM 12
Bamboi, Savanna Region
[email protected]
0202815502

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