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Mahama Says AI to be Used to Monitor Illegal Mining if Elected President

"We will introduce and encourage technological innovation to improve capacity for coordinated monitoring of the small-scale mining sector and reduce environmental impact.

The presidential candidate of the National Democratic Congress (NDC), John Mahama has proposed to use Artificial Intelligence Technology to monitor small-scale mining and illegal mining activities if he is elected as president in the general elections set for December.

Speaking at the 3rd Annual Transformational Dialogue on Small-scale Mining’ organised by the University of Energy and Natural Resources in Suyani, the NDC candidate said AI technology would be used to identify geo-fences around illegal mining concessions to prevent mining operations in unauthorized areas.

“We will introduce and encourage technological innovation to improve capacity for coordinated monitoring of the small-scale mining sector and reduce environmental impact. This will include using AI to locate all small-scale mining and galamsey operations and track excavators,” he said on Wednesday, May 15.

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On his Facebook page, Mahama highlighted a number of strategies, which he said were his policy interventions to prevent illegal mining in Ghana.

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Illegal gold mining, locally called “galamsey” has been a pressing issue in Ghana for quite a while now. The activities of these miners, usually unregulated, are causing havoc to the environment – particularly water bodies, forests, and farmlands. Most of Ghana’s major rivers and lakes, like the River Pra, have been polluted as a result. In 2017 for instance, the Water Resources Commission said about 60% of Ghana’s rivers were polluted.

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But now it seems that aside from polluting water bodies, “galamseyers” have targeted farmlands, especially cocoa farms, posing a threat to Ghana’s third biggest source of revenue. Recently, the Ghana Cocoa Board CEO, Joseph Boahen Aidoo, said illegal mining is one of the two main threats to cocoa production.


Read Also: Climate Change, Galamsey, Greatest Threats to Cocoa Production – COCOBOD CEO


The illegal mining taskforce which the government set up as far back as 2013 has been arresting perpetrators, but there are concerns that the task force is not able to fully do its work as those arrested are sometimes linked to persons in government.


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