A software application called GalamStop is one of the new measures government has adopted in its fight against illegal mining, popularly known as ‘galamsey’.
Announcing the new measure at a press briefing Thursday, Chairman of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on illegal mining, Prof Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng said the software will integrate activities of all regulatory bodies in the fight.
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“Measures that include regular visits to mining concessions, use of remote sensing and satellite imagery and drones and more importantly the integration of the activities of these regulatory agencies through a computer application we call GalamStop have been devised.
“So the Minerals Commission, EPA, Water Resources Commission, Forestry Commission, MMDCEs will be integrated through this software application,” he said.
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All these agencies, Prof Frimpong-Boateng, who is also Minister for Environment Science and Innovation said, have been well equipped with the necessary resources to enable them carry out their regulatory functions.
“With this information, we will know exactly where the concession is, their GPS coordinates, GhanaPost Address and whether they have licenses and whether their licenses have expired or not.”
The new software, Prof Frimpong-Boateng noted will also assist in the monitoring of the licensing regime and provide a clear understanding on the progress being made in the issuance of licenses.
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Delays in the issuance of licenses, he hopes, will be a thing of the past, “because we know that mining licenses should not take more than 90 days to acquire,” the Minister said.
The software will also provide information on the machinery being used on mining concessions and help authorities to crack down on the use of illegal machinery.
All miners, with licenses, will be issued special identification cards linked to the app to enable easy access to information.
He believes the new measures which include drone monitoring is the way to go and that even the International Labour Organisation is impressed with the steps government is taking to resolve the canker.
ILO believes the new measures fit into their desire to end child labour in illegal mining.
“We are very happy that this is attracting international attention so that the world will know that our president is serious with the fight against galamsey and that we are not going to allow people including minors to engage in illegal mining,” he said.
On the way forward, Prof Frimpong-Boateng says all excavators to be used on mining concessions will be given tracking devices, also linked to the app.
The Minister said all paramilitary forces providing protection at mining concessions will be withdrawn. Only Operation Vanguard teams will on the ground.
He said the ban on illegal mining will be lifted at a date to be announced soon.
Source: Ghana| Myjoyonline.com