Unemployment Forced Kibi Youths Into Galamsey

File Photo

File Photo

Most youths of Kibi in the Akim Abuakwa Municipality of the Eastern Region and its surrounding towns are into illegal gold mining as a solution to their unanswered idleness.

The youths are seen dressed up in their working attire each day even on Sundays going to sites where they could find a place to mine illegally because it seems that is the only work which is more unless manna from heaven to ensure they also gets something for their up keeps.

A visit by this reporter to Kibi and its surrounding towns including Asikam, Apapam, Kwabeng, Abomoso, Ankaase just to mention few revealed that illegal mining was very effective despite warnings from the Chiefs and by extension the government that people should refrain from engaging in illegal mining.

The Small-Scale Gold Mining Law – 1989 (PNDCL 218) states all the procedures one has to go through to acquire permit to mine in the country.

Section 19 talks about Offences and Punishments under the Small-Scale Gold Mining Law – 1989 (PNDCL 218) and the section (2) (a) of section 19 states that “any person who without a license granted by the secretary undertakes any small-scale gold mining operation contrary to subsection (1) of section (1) of this law”.

Widely referred to as ‘galamsey’ has done more harm than good to the people of the places.

Though at the end the of day people would get some amount of money in their pockets which one way enhance business for people who prepare food and other consumables to sell on the galamsey site, it has its own negative effects which outweighs that of the positive effects, some residents disclosed.

Almost all lands, during our visit to the aforementioned places have been taken over by galamsey and it would not be surprising to hear later that there are no lands that have not been taken over by galamsey operators because illegal mining is still operational at those towns.

This reporter was also informed that the river Birim which had been the only source of drinking water for decades now has been polluted and it is not hygienic to drink or use the Birim River any longer.

The residents at Kibi told this paper that they have to buy sachet water or get a well at their various homes. A person who cannot afford getting a well has to buy from those who have at a dear price per gallon, bucket or basin.

Otherwise one has to get a pipe connection from the Ghana Water Company limited at Kibi. Over the years the Water Company Limited at Kibi got its source of water from the same Birim River until the galamsey operations polluted the water making it unsafe for human use, Sister Ama said passionately.

However, with the help of the Chiefs and the Member of Parliament for Akyem Abuakwa North Constituency under which Kibi falls, Hon. Atta Akyea, President John Mahama recently inaugurated a water treatment plant for the people of Kibi as a move to providing good drinking water.

In an interview with Kwasi Boah, one of the galamsey operators, he noted that galamsey is not a job he would encourage people to engage themselves in because it comes with its negativities.

According to him “it is very tedious. It requires a lot of energy. You have to carry the gravels from morning to evening for washing. At times you have to work throughout the night but at the end of the work you will get little amount of money because the owner of the site buys the gold you will wash at a lower price. I am still doing it because there are no employments in this town so I do this to survive”, he disclosed.

Yaw Koranteng, a trained wielder who went into galamsey but has reverted to doing his wielding had this to say “it’s not a good job. I won’t advise anybody to go into galamsey. I went into galamsey after my training as a wielder because I thought it was a good job but it is not so I have come back into my wielding” he added.

Unofficial statistics from some people who have taken galamsey seriously indicated that if you take ten (10) galamsey sites, at least six (6) people, most of whom are children die by drowning in the pits dug for galamsey purposes as a result of the operators not covering the pits after their operations.

Most of the youths who are into the galamsey have developed the habit of smoking marijuana, locally called ‘weed’. One of such people who spoke anonymously stated that “we do not get tired when they smoke the weed to do the work”.

Meanwhile, the youths beseeched the government to help create employment so that they will stop the illegal mining.

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