According to him, the alternative livelihood programmes introduced by the Ministry of Local Government in areas where galamsey was rife has seen a decline in the number of deaths recorded due to the collapse of pits and tunnels.
In the wake of missing seized equipment, the opposition National Democratic Congress has however, described the fight against galamsey as a failure.
But President Akufo-Addo in his 2020 State of the Nation Address to Parliament on Thursday said, “Operation Vanguard has been successful even though problems still remain. We started with the banning of all small-scale mining and by the end of the campaign; some rivers started showing signs of coming back to life.”
Outlining some of the successes chalked, the President noted however that his government would not weaken its stance in the fight.
“When we came into office in January 2017, galamsey activities were rampant in many parts of the country. Our lands, forests and river bodies were being systematically degraded and destroyed without any care and this had been the case for several years.
The previous NDC government had given up the fight against galamsey but we determined that this was an intolerable situation and we owed it to generations unborn to tackle the problem and save our environment. I was therefore not under any illusion about the size and scope of the problem that we are taking on,” he said.
He stated that “the interministerial committee against illegal mining has been working hard and has had some successes. Under the auspices of this committee, the Ministry of Local Government has formed and is implementing the alternative livelihood programme in 35 severely affected galamsey districts across the country.
“Mining with impunity on forest reserves and in water bodies has declined. More than 4000 miners have received training in sustainable mining. The number of individuals dying in collapsed mining tunnels and pits has reduced by 90 per cent. Operation Vanguard has been particularly effective in helping to restore the order which has permitted the reopening of the famous Obuasi mine of Anglogold Ashanti.”
“The community mining programme has been well received by the population and young men and women who did not have the resources to acquire concessions and excavators and other mining inputs and therefore had to do galamsey, have moved into legal community mining,” he added.
According to President Akufo-Addo, following the introduction of the community mining programme there have been no deaths due to the collapse of mining tunnels and pits.
He added that more than 20,000 individuals are earning their income legitimately in the community mines.
Nonetheless, President Akufo-Addo acknowledged that the threat posed by galamsey still lingered and urged the media coalition against galamsey not to relent on its effort to fight the menace.
“The threat posed to the future of our country by galamsey is grave and we cannot shirk our responsibilities in dealing with it. I’m appealing with the media coalition not to be daunted by the difficiulties in the fight against galamsey. Government will not weaken it’s stand and welcomes the continued support of the media coalition,” he said.