The government of Ghana, through the Ghana Railway Development Authority (GRDA), is embarking on a massive railway construction project from Takoradi Port to Nsuta mines through to Huni Valley.

The 80km project, which is being undertaken by Amandi Investment Holdings, is costing the nation €500 million. This project is part of Ghana’s Railway Masterplan and is expected to connect the Eastern line from the Ashanti Region. When completed, it is expected to serve as the primary transportation route for the haulage of manganese, cocoa, bauxite, and for human transport.

However, the activities of illegal miners are posing a serious threat to the project as they excavate and dig very close to the railway lines. If this is not stopped immediately, the devastating effects in the short and long term may include:

  1. Environmental Degradation: The activities of illegal mining involve indiscriminate excavation along the right-of-way, which is causing soil erosion, deforestation, and contamination of water bodies. This can harm the natural environment along the railway route.
  2. Infrastructure Damage: The illegal mining operation is encroaching upon the railway construction area, which can potentially damage rail tracks, bridges, and tunnels. This can pose a risk of subsidence and track misalignment and would result in costly repairs and delays in project completion.
  3. Safety Hazards: The Galamsey activities are creating safety hazards for railway workers. Abandoned mining pits and unsafe mining practices pose risks to anyone near the construction site.
  4. Project Delay: Dealing with the environmental damage caused by Galamsey would require project delays and additional expenses for cleanup and repairs, potentially exceeding the allocated budget and time.

While the Ghana Railway Development Authority is working to combat illegal mining, it’s important to recognize that the activities of illegal miners pose a national security concern and a significant challenge. The Ghana Railway Development Authority alone cannot address this issue, so the government should intervene and engage national security to promptly halt the destruction to safeguard the project.