Galamsey operation in Ghana
By: Fred Yaw Sarpong
Dr. Jones Mantey, a Ghanaian researcher has alleged that some mining companies in Ghana are supporting galamsey operations activities in the country.
He further alleged that these companies have been buying waste (mine dumps or tailings) from the galamsey operators, to boost their production cost.
According to him, most of the galamsey operators who goes into underground mining are able to get about 20% of the gold from what they gathered, leaving the remaining 80% as mine dumps or tailings.
“This is because the galamsey operators do not have the technology to extract all the gold. But the remaining 80% is much richer than the 20% they get,” he added.
He disclosed this to the Daily Express after he presented a research paper on “the footprints of galamsey in Ghana: the Western Region under the microscope”, at a workshop organized by the International Growth Centre (IGC) in Accra.
The workshop was on the theme: “Addressing the galamsey menace: challenges and opportunities”.
Dr. Mantey stated that after the operators have taken their 20% gold, they allow the mine dumps or tailings to pile up to a huge mounts and when they gather enough, they invites the some mining companies to buy them.
He said these mining companies buy these tailings to beef up their production. He declined to mention any specific mining company involved in this activities. However, he pointed out that “this has been going on in places like Tarkwa, Prestea and Bibiani in the Western region.”
“Currently these mining companies are not able to meet their production. Because of that they get gold from the tailings to beef up their production,” he further alleged.
“These companies have started buying the mine dumps from the operators, forcing the galamsey operation to continue operating. This also makes the mining companies to cut their production cost and save the environment as well. Buying the tailings means that they will minimize mining and stop cutting down trees,” he noted.
He said that these activities have both negative and positive implications. “It’s a fact that galamsey operators are selling mine dumps or tailings to some mining companies in the country. The positive aspect of this is that it allows the mining companies to cut down production cost and also save the land and forest from degradation. But the negative aspect is that it does encourage the galamsey operators to continue operation.”
He further stated that the galamsey operators have started revisiting the old pile-up tailings because they have realized the potential gold in them.