The Public Diplomacy Officer of the United States Embassy to Ghana, Kevin Brosnahan, has re-emphasized that illegal mining, or “galamsey,” poses a serious threat to Ghana’s environment if the current unsustainable small-scale mining and its health effects are not addressed.
He made these remarks at the opening of Tech Camp Takoradi, an initiative by the U.S. Department of State and the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT). The camp brings together 50 technology experts and mining stakeholders from across Ghana to brainstorm tech-enabled solutions to address galamsey.
The 50 stakeholders include representatives of mining communities and companies, scientists and innovators, policymakers, environmental activists, and the media.
Brosnahan said the US government is helping with the Tech Camp for experts to brainstorm the use of artificial intelligence and satellite data to combat illegal mining.
“Sure. It’s been widely reported that illegal mining is a big threat to Ghana’s environment. It’s been repeated that potentially Ghana would have to import water in the future if illegal mining is not controlled. So that is why we are here now helping Ghanaian stakeholders to bring some potential solutions to the problem. Thus, the use of new technology like artificial intelligence and satellite data to bring some solution so that Ghana can have more sustainable small-scale mining,” he emphasized.
The Vice Chancellor of UMaT, Professor Richard Kwasi Amankwah, also speaking to Citi News at the event, said the collaboration with the United States Department of State is welcome and strengthens the general effort to find solutions to the illegality which is hurting the all-important small-scale gold mining sector.
“The small-scale mining sector is a very important sector of the Ghanaian economy, and it employs more than 1 million people. It also means that about 6 million people depend on the small-scale mining sector for survival and therefore any effort that we can put in to ensure that small-scale mining thrives, we should be able to do it. Many conversations have gone into attempting to improve the sector and this is one of them, and we are grateful to the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Ghana for partnering UMaT to roll out this Tech Camp Takoradi. It’s about technology solutions and I believe that the people who have gathered here with different backgrounds can find out workable technology solutions that would move the sector to its next level of development,” he noted.
The TechCamps are public diplomacy programs by the U.S. Department of State that ensure hands-on, participant-driven workshops that connect private sector technology experts with key populations to explore and apply innovative tech solutions to global issues.