Ghanaian geoscientists attending the fifth colloquium of the International Geoscience Programme (IGCP638), underway at the University of Ghana, Legon, are advocating that professionals take charge and regulate mining issues affecting the country.
“We’ve found ourselves in this era, especially in Ghana where our environment is being degraded for galamsey,” Prof Larry Pax Chegbeleh, Head of the Earth Science Department of the University of Ghana, said.
He wondered if earlier generations had degraded the environment the present generation would have come to meet it as it was now.
However, the minimal participation of professionals in the regulation of small-scale mining is making efforts at ensuring sanity in the business to save the environment less effectively.
Professor Chegbeleh, in an interview with journalists, on the sidelines of the conference, underscored the need for all professionals-both in academia and in the industry- with their diverse backgrounds, to check illegal small-scale mining and ensure sustainable mining and development.
On the pollution of water by galamsey, the don said, “We now have coloured water we have now in some parts of the country due to illegal, but water colourless and it should be so.
“If you were in the session, you notice that everybody was speaking the language of sustainable development, sustainable development in the sense that, it looks like this generation we are actually about particularly sustainable development-the handle the resources in the sense that future generations will come over and have it.
Professor Chegbeleh, who is the chairman of the conference, said the conference would generate active exchanges among actors in the mining industry and benefit academia and teaching programmes.
It is also geared towards facilitating mining exploration, and to reinforce the capacity of the participants on the field methods of the Paleoproterozoic (Birimian) basement geology through the field trips (and possible sampling of specimens).
Dr Yvonne Loh, Senior Lecturer at the Earth Science Department, University of Ghana, said there was a need to understand the resources of the nation to employ diverse professionals working in these areas.
“So, there is the need for once in while converge and understand what anybody is doing in these fields. It is at such gathering that we share ideas and communicate our needs as a professional body,” she said.
She added: “You know what galamsey is doing to us; professionals must take charge to regulate it, and make sure that those professionals are themselves regulated,” and mentioned the Ghana Geological Survey Authority, Ministry of Environment and Science and the Water Resources Commission as some institutions that should actively engage in water quality control.
Dr Loh announced that a draft law, called the “Ghana Institute of Geoscientists Bill” is currently before Attorney General Department.
Dr Prince Ofori Amponsah, Senior Lecturer, at the Department of Earth Science and President of the Local Organising Committee of the conference, said the symposia of the conference would cover geodynamics, geochemistry, geochronology, mapping, sedimentology, pollution and deforestation.
He said: This conference is to produce scientific knowledge in geology as well as understanding the West African people mining in a sustainable way.
The conference, which began on Monday, is on the theme: “Geodynamics and Mineralization of Paleoproterozoic Formations for Sustainable Development.”
It is running from December 4 to December 9, 2022; and divided into two parts-part one, two days of conference proceedings in Accra, at the University of Ghana, and part two, three days of field trips.
Participants are drawn from all 16 West African countries as well as France, England, Algeria and Morocco.