Illegal mining & corruption in Ghana related to gold rush

Posted Dec 13, 2011 by Nancy Houser
The gold boom of Africa's Republic of Ghana is tragically fueled by foreign speculators and criminals. This is the main cause of widespread corruption and illegal gold trade in one of the world's top gold-producing countries.
File photo of a gold mine.
File photo of a gold mine.
Bob on Flickr
As long as precious metals are commanding a fortune around the world, Ghana's fraudulent gold trade will be on the rise. Known locally as "galamsey," Environmentalists Against War reports that illegal and unlicensed mining efforts are funding by criminals who are in full control, while innocent peoples' lives are in danger and the environment is in jeopardy.
Potentials for the country's mining operations are drastically reduced because of what happens when gold mining runs amuck in deception and lies. This corruption is carefully being uncovered by investigative journalists in Africa Investigates, only to find that those who were working to prevent the corruption are the ones now who are embedded in it.
Adom Online reports on Deputy Information Minister Samuel Okudzeto Ablakwa, who was speaking at a forum in Accra organised by pro-government pressure group, Committee for Joint Action (CJA).
Apparently, "members took turns to condemn the NPP administration for allegedly breeding deep-seated corruption in the country...A member of the CJA, Mr Felix Kwakye Ofosu, accused the previous NPP government of deliberately weakening anti-graft agencies allowing corruption to fester. Only this week, Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perception Index showed that corruption is on the rise."
The people of Ghana are deeply affected by the gold mining in their country in many ways, according to the Minerals Commission of Ghana:
1. Corruption
2. Lack of access to justice
3. Violence associated with mining activities
4. Inadequate compensation
5. Unsafe living and working conditions
6. Lack of prior consultation and consent
As far as the Ghana chiefs themselves, the June 2010 found no evidence that they were working hand-in-hand with the corrupt gold mines. But the report did find on page four that the illegal miners refused to observe environmental rules and regulations, causing severe damage to the local environment and water bodies.
The Government and the security agencies are aware of these operations and concerted efforts are being made to curb the operations of the illegal miners, which has become endemic. The Government, with the help of her Development Partners, is implementing the Natural Resources and Environmental Governance (NREG) programme to mitigate some of these impacts.