Illegal Mining In Ghana: New Video Captures Deformities Of Infants Born In Galamsey Active Areas

Illegal Mining In Ghana: New Video Captures Deformities Of Infants Born In Galamsey Active Areas

  • The effects of illegal mining in parts of Ghana on infants have been documented in a mind-boggling report
  • The Joy News documentary details how children suffer from kidney problems due to the hazardous chemicals used for illegal mining that seep into their food and water
  • Some infants are also born with more than five fingers and limbs forming on their chest, according to the report

A new video documentary that was aired on October 16, 2023, has shown how children born in areas inundated by illegal mining are experiencing cognitive impairment and physical deformities.

In the disturbing report, Paul Poku Sampene Ossei, an Associate Professor at the Department of Pathology of the School of Medical Sciences at KNUST explained that the heavy metals used in gold extraction by illegal miners, known as galamsey operators, are the cause of the life-altering situation.

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Illegal Mining In Ghana: New Video Captures Deformities Of Infants Born In Galamsey Active Areas
A stock photo of an infant baby (L) and Prof Paul Poku Sampene Ossei. Source: Getty Images, Facebook/@myjoyonline
Source: UGC

Prof Ossei said in the Joy News documentary that the deformities arise when hazardous chemicals such as mercury, cyanide, and lead, which are used to mine for gold in freshwater bodies, are inhaled and ingested into the bloodstream of miners and local residents.

The Consultant Pathologist at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) also disclosed that children and infants are particularly vulnerable, absorbing up to 50% of these heavy metals when they inhale the substances or consume food contaminated by them.

Adults can absorb around 15-20% of these metals, he distinguished the effects for children and adults.

Prof Ossei mentioned in the documentary that severe deformities, such as babies born with limbs forming around the chest, neck, and stomach, as well as cases of babies born with one eye or without genitalia. Some are born with more than five fingers.

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Some mothers also experience adverse effects, he disclosed. He explained that a pregnant woman's placenta has a high affinity for lead, so if she lives in a galamsey area, her baby is likely to be born with deformities.

The children also suffer from kidney and hypertensive-related conditions.

These health issues are the result of illegal mining activities, popularly called galamsey, and their environmental consequences.

There have been claims in the past that powerful people close to the Presidency are engaged in illegal mining in Ghana.

Okyenhene destools Benkumhene of Asamang Tamfoe over galamsey

In a separate story, reported that in an unprecedented move, Okyenhene Amoatia Ofori Panin has destooled one of his chiefs for engaging in illegal mining.

Benkumhene of Asamang-Tamfoe, Nana Boakye Darkwa, was destooled after a petition was brought against him by some concerned citizens.

After a series of proceedings by the Akyem Abuakwa Judicial Council that was chaired by the Okyenhene, the Benkumhene was stripped of his title.

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