July 20, 2024
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Next NDC government to spend $500m on fight against illegal mining

The Special Aide to NDC flagbearer John Mahama has confirmed that if the party wins the upcoming election, it will invest $500 million to combat the illegal mining menace, known locally as ‘galamsey’.

Joyce Bawa-Mogtari told Evans Mensah on PM Express that this issue is of great concern, and additional state resources will be invested to address it.

The former Deputy Transport Minister said, “John Mahama actually said in his speech at the University of Mines and Energy, for example, that at least $500 million will be deployed first into research to get data and of course using modern technology.”

“Everybody’s interested in this conversation…there is something that modern technology does for us. It makes things much easier and presents a better photograph and actually satisfies something that humans cannot do,” she explained on Monday.

Mahama to Deploy AI to Fight Galamsey
Former President John Mahama last month revealed plans to employ Artificial Intelligence (AI) in combating illegal small-scale mining at the ‘3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-Scale Mining’ organised by the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Sunyani.

The issue has become a significant challenge for successive governments, with many Ghanaians concerned about its debilitating impact.

The Ghana Water Company has highlighted how the practice increases the cost of treating water.

Mr Mahama emphasised the need for technological innovation to enhance the monitoring of the small-scale mining sector and minimise its environmental impact.

“We will introduce and encourage technological innovation to improve capacity for coordinated monitoring of the small-scale mining sector and reduce environmental impact,” he said.

He proposed the utilisation of AI to identify small-scale mining and galamsey activities, monitor excavators, and establish geo-fences around concessions to prevent mining operations in unauthorized areas, including water bodies.

“This will include using AI to locate all small-scale mining and galamsey operations, track excavators, and geo-fence all concessions to ensure mining operations are not conducted in unapproved areas, including water bodies.”

This initiative aims to strengthen coordinated efforts in monitoring and regulating mining activities, thereby promoting sustainable mining practices and environmental conservation.

Technology Does It Better
Adding her voice, Joyce Bawa-Mogtari said despite the government’s failure to use drones to fight the menace, AI can be more effective.

“You can sit in your room even and be able to tell that the military that you’ve sent, instead of the ones that we saw in videos wearing mufti and going out there to engage in these activities themselves, are working.”

“These are technologies that will be used to actually expose some of these acts.”

According to her, due to the importance of the subject matter, a lot of support could be obtained for free from various stakeholders in the mining industry.

“Remember that climate control and climate change are big conversations. There are government-to-government and state-to-state conversations that are taking place. There’s a lot of resources…there will be conversations that will lead us to this process, but note also, that it is a matter of public interest.

“Larger mining companies invest a lot in their mines. The activities of these illegal responsible miners affect their activities too. It is also their responsibility in terms of corporate image to invest in this and they are doing a great job already.”

Madam Bawa-Mogtari said CSOs are already having conversations about how to support the fight, so the next NDC government will count on them to “help with education and training.”

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