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Don’t blame water supply challenges on us – Small-scale miners to GWCL

President of the Concerned Small-Scale Miners Association, Nana Kwadwo Preprah

The Small-Scale Miners Association says reports of illegal mining activities contributing to the erratic supply of water in some parts of the country are untrue.

The Ghana Water Company Limited in the Eastern Region says activities of illegal small-scale miners, popularly referred to as galamsey, continue to hinder water operations.

Currently, the water company is rationing water in most parts of the region and has on numerous occasions shut down water treatment plants at Osino, Bunso, and Kyebi as a result of activities of illegal miners.

The Eastern Regional Public Relations Officer of the Ghana Water Company Limited, Kwadwo Daase has called on the government to streamline the activities of the small scale miners to curtail further difficulties.

But the President of the Concerned Small-Scale Miners Association, Nana Kwadwo Preprah has refuted such claims.

“This is not the first time the Ghana Water Company has run out of water. They have experienced a series of water shortages. I do not think it is fair to pin the challenge down on small-scale miners per se.”

“We cannot put a stop to mining, because take it or leave it makes substantial contributions to the economy. So we can at least find a way around it,” he added.


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Environmental disaster to hit offshore Saltpond – Energy Policy Group

The Institute for Energy Policies and Research (INSTEPR), has revealed that there is an impending Environmental disaster at offshore Saltpond, in the Central Region.

The research body explained in a statement that Ghana is facing an imminent environmental catastrophe if the 65 years old Oil Rig, ‘‘Mr. Louie’’ is not decommissioned immediately.

The Saltpond field is Ghana’s oldest Oil field, discovered in 1970 and was operated by the Signal-Amoco Consortium.They relinquished the concession field in 1976 to offshore Hydrocarbon Limited citing the field as non-commercial. Offshore Hydrocarbon entered into a development partnership with Agri-Petco of U.S.A between 1977 to 1978.

“This company initially brought the jack up rig called ‘‘Mr. Louie’’ to drill six appraisal wells. In October 1978, the Jack up rig was converted into a production platform.

“The saltpond field was abandoned between 1985 and 2000, until in August 2000 when rehabilitation works commenced with the repair of the ‘’Mr. Louie’’ platform by Lushann International.

“The field was producing an average of 400 barrels per day from two well when production started in August 2000, then dropped to around 150 barrels per day before operation of the oil field was halted on June 10, 2010 by the Ghana National Petroleum Corporation (GNPC).

“A decision to decommission the field was made in March 2018 when the Phase-1 of the project was awarded through a competitive process to a consulting consortium led by PAP Energy Limited. Their report on the decommissioning plan was submitted to the Ministry of Energy and GNPC in July 2019. Based on this report, a competitive tender to award the decommissioning contract was started in May 2020. The process has stalled since then and all efforts to ascertain from GNPC, the reason for the delay has yielded no information.

“Recent reports on ‘’Mr. Louie’ sighted by INSTEPR reveals a very disturbing state of the platform. The wellhead valves which are the primary locks securing the wellbore from flowing oil and gas back to surface are currently severely pitted and rusted. The production platform has rusted severely as it shakes and wavers during heavy rains.  Currently there are gas leaks and should the wellhead valves or pipes or even the platform fails eventually, there will be an explosion and the gas build up in the well will bring around 150 barrels of crude oil daily into the sea in the central region of Ghana.

“GNPC keep a skeletal staff on this platform and their lives are in danger should there be such an accident. This oil spillage will destroy the natural ecosystem of the area and makes the fish in our seas unsuitable for human consumption for years to come.

“It will also cost Billions of dollars to control the well and safely clean up the oil spillage as well as fines by international environmental agencies. Similar disaster was witnessed on television during the 2010 Oil Spillage in the Gulf of Mexico.

“The Institute will want to draw the attention of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GNPC and the Energy committee of Parliament to immediately supervise the decommissioning of this production platform ‘’Mr. Louie’’ before our worst nightmare happens.”


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EU threatens to ban cocoa from Ghana over galamsey-induced land degradation

The European Union (EU) is threatening to ban cocoa from Ghana if the negative impact of illegal mining on the country’s environment persists.

Making a presentation at the ongoing National Consultative Dialogue on Small Scale Mining in Accra today, April 15, 2021, the Deputy Chief Executive in-Charge of Agronomy and Quality Control at COCOBOD, Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh, expressed fears about the impact of the development on Ghana’s cocoa sector.

Currently, Ghana exports 80 percent of its cocoa to the European Union.

But Dr. Emmanuel Agyemang Dwomoh said immediate action must be taken to avert the possible sanctions.

“As we speak, EU is threatening to ban Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire, to impose legislative instrument restrictions on the importation of cocoa from Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to their courts.”

He said the EU is taking this course of action because areas shown in satellite images to have been forested in the 70s and 80s in Ghana have all experienced land degradation in the decades since.

“When you take the satellite images, you will see those places in red. The EU thinks that all those places are red because cocoa is causing land degradation [in Ghana], meanwhile, it is as a result of the galamsey activities.”

He further raised concerns about the devastating effects of the galamsey activities on the production of cocoa in Ghana and its exportation.

“The impact of these mining activities on cocoa production is enormous. There is crop loss, reduction of crop yield and income, loss of vegetation, the fertility of the crop soil is destroyed and [there’s also] an early dropping of immature pods, as a result of the chemicals that they use,” he lamented.

In January 2021, the European Union announced that it will contribute €25 million to enhance the economic, social and environmental sustainability of cocoa production in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana and Cameroon who are, respectively, the first, second and fifth-biggest cocoa producers, generating almost 70% of the world production.

This funding is to strengthen the partnership between Team Europe (composed of the EU, its Member States, and European financial institutions) and the three cocoa-producing countries and aims at ensuring a decent living income for farmers, halting deforestation and eliminating child labour.


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Give Ghanaians real action on galamsey, not soundbites – Sam George to Akufo-Addo

The Member of Parliament (MP) for Ningo-Prampram, Mr. Sam Nartey George, has urged President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to stop the rhetoric and hit the ground running in the galamsey fight.

In his view, President Akufo-Addo is only paying lip service to the fight against illegal small-scale mining, locally known as galamsey, instead of fighting it head-on.

According to him, the president is only giving Ghanaians nice “soundbites rather than real action”.

The Ningo-Prampram lawmaker insisted that those behind the menace are government appointees or person aligned to the governing New Patriotic Party and thus urged the President to crack the whip to serve as a deterrent to others.

“Mr. President, it is your party national executives and regional executives, your party people, your presidential staffers, your former ministers who are engaged in the galamsey menace. They are the people carrying out small-scale mining and destroying our water bodies. So Mr. President, put your money where your mouth is. If you want to fight galamsey, deal with your own appointees and stop giving us soundbites and give us real action.”

“The truth is that Mr. President, it is your party people who are doing the galamsey. Nobody in the NDC is engaged in it because we don’t control the security agencies that are protecting these illegal miners. We don’t manufacture excavators in this country, they all come through the port. So who is giving permits for those excavators to be imported? If the government is really committed to fighting the menace, can’t the government place a ban on the importation of all excavators?”

Mr. Sam George made the call on Citi TV‘s Breakfast Daily programme on Thursday, April 15, 2021.

His comments come on the back of the ongoing National Consultative Dialogue, a forum the President is hopeful will come out with a better roadmap for dealing with galamsey activities once and for all.

“Out of this maiden consultative dialogue, I hope we will build a national consensus around a national policy on small scale mining, that promotes a responsible, viable, environmentally sustainable small-scale mining industry, which has discarded the use of mercury, ‘changfangs’ and excavators, which has barred the involvement of foreign nationals, and which has rejected the destruction of our forests, environment and water bodies,” President Akufo-Addo said.

Source: citinewsroom

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