GNA – Mr Kenneth Ashigbey, the Convenor of the Media Coalition Against Galamsey, says the Coalition would not tolerate individuals or mining firms involved in illicit mining in the country.
He said all those involved in illicit mining would be dealt with adding; “We have to make sure that the right thing is done”.
Mr Ashigbey said this at an Editors’ Forum in Accra on Wednesday to share some of the activities undertaken by the Coalition and strategise for the way forward.
It was the first meeting of the members of the Coalition since its official launch in April, this year, to wage war against illegal small-scale mining, otherwise known as galamsey.
He said a Steering Committee was constituted to coordinate the activities of the Coalition with the arduous ambition of ending galamsey by the close of the year.
It is also to ensure the cleaning up of the polluted water bodies, reclamation of the mined areas, naming and shaming of individuals involved in galamsey and push for the conviction of offenders.
Mr Ashigbey said the Coalition emerged because the key stakeholders, including the media, failed to tackle the menace of illegal small-scale mining with the seriousness it deserved.
Therefore, he said, it was time the media took the bull by the horns and galvanise the necessary arsenals to halt the menace of galamsey once and for all.
He said the war against galamsey had not been won yet and would, therefore, require the concerted efforts of all the members of the Coalition to achieve the objectives.
Mr Ashigbey commended the media for their contributions so far towards the fight, saying; “I commend you for donating your air-time and media spaces to push the frontiers”.
He said some corporate entities had financially supported the Coalition to organise Town Hall meetings to sensitise the people on the dangers of illegal mining.
The Coalition, he said, had gone to Manso Nkwanta in the Ashanti Region, Dunkwa in the Central Region and Kyebi in the Eastern Region with the Town Hall meetings.
Some members of the Coalition came up with some ideas and suggestions, including the establishment of regional focal persons, anti-galamsey press corps, websites and social media platforms to disseminate and share the activities of the Coalition.
They urged the Government to fast-track the rolling out of the Multilateral Mining Integrated Project so that the artisanal miners, affected by the ban on small-scale mining, would find alternative livelihoods.
The membership of the Coalition consists of all the state-owned media houses including the Ghana News Agency; as well as the Private News Paper Publishers Association of Ghana, the Ghana Independence Broadcasters Association, and the Ghana Community Radio Networks.