Dr. Aubynn (INSET) addressing the media

CEO OF the Ghana Chamber of Mines, Dr. Toni Aubynn, has expressed disgust over the devastating effects of galamsey (illegal mining) activities on the environment and the country?s economy.

He has consequently implored politicians to battle the canker with a united voice to help save the country from further catastrophe, saying illegal mining was drawing the country backwards economically.

Dr. Aubynn, who was interacting with a section of the media in Kumasi Wednesday, bemoaned the present situation, saying politicians seemed divided over the issue.

He noted that besides polluting water bodies and causing other environmental hazards, galamsey activities accounted for almost 30 percent of all gold mined in the country.

Dr. Aubynn said what annoyed him the most was the fact that people who engaged in illegal mining do not pay taxes meaning they were enriching themselves at a loss to the state.

The CEO, who took office late last year disclosed that some Spanish nationals have now joined their Chinese counterparts in the country to engage in illegal mining at certain locations.

This he cautioned should serve as a wake-up call to Ghanaian politicians to battle the menace with a united front.

?Politicians should stop doing politics with galamsey,? he stated noting the phenomenon was destroying the mining industry.   Politicians should set their parochial interests and fight it, he stressed.

Dr. Aubynn admonished government to involve stakeholders whenever it decided to increase taxes on mining in order to contribute to the survival of the mining industry.

He pointed out that his outfit was not against government maximizing the benefits of mining activities, but warned that neglecting the views of major players could prove disastrous for the sector.

?Sit down with players in the mining industry before you impose taxes for the sustenance of the industry,? he told government.

Dr. Aubynn noted that ?government should maximize the benefits from the mining sector but it should do it in a manner that would keep mining companies in business.?

He warned that exorbitant increases in taxes might hurt the industry and scare other investors from coming to do business in the country.

He added that the tax increases could also make mining very expensive for players eventually leading to people being laid off by their employers.

Dr Aubynn disclosed that Ghana was currently one of the most expensive countries to do mining, adding that mining industries in the country pay higher electricity tariffs than those operating in the other sectors.

 FROM I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi

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