'Illegal miners operating contrary to mining regulations' - Participants
7/25/2012 4:00:43 AM -
Koforidua, July 24, GNA- Participants at a dialogue session at the on-going Eastern Regional Policy fair have observed that illegal miners were operating contrary to the laws of the mining and that the mandated agencies should arrest and prosecute offenders.
They said foreigners were heavily involved in illegal mining activities, especially in the Akyem areas and expressed worry about the wrong procedure in allocating parcels of land by some chiefs.
According to the participants who were made up of Heads of Departments, Municipal and District Chief Executives (MDCE), chiefs and the general public, some government agencies were simply refusing to do their job and must be called to order.
The dialogue was under the theme 'Mining in the Eastern Region, Prospects and Challenges'.
Leading the discussion, the Eastern Regional Minister, Mr Victor Smith, said recently some Spaniards had been arrested in the region involved in illegal mining activities and three excavators were seized in an operation to halt the trend.
He said investigations proved that the foreigners had the backing and encouragement of some Ghanaians hence their show of disregard to the laws of Ghana and warned that any Ghanaian caught in that manner would be dealt with severely to serve as deterrent.
He said 'those of you who are putting your interest first and Ghana second by pleading on behalf of people who have caused massive destruction to our environment and threaten the livelihood of the people cannot have me as part of the agenda'.
The Acting Konor of the Yilo-Krobo Traditional Area, Nene Osayem Odorkor Tumeh, who chaired the dialogue, said a well managed mineral extraction process provided employment, created wealth, accelerated development and improved the living standard of a nation, yet that was not the story of Ghana.
He said unfortunately mining of gold, diamond and limestone, which abound in Kwaebibirem, East and West Akyem and the Krobo areas, had not seen the desired impact on the lives of the people and it was rather causing massive destruction of the ecosystem and threatening the lives of many people in the affected communities.
Nene said mining, which was supposed to better 'our lot has become a source of conflict between miners and residents of mining communities resulting in the loss of lives and properties' and cited the Krobo areas where the conveyance of limestone by heavy trucks was destroying the road network constructed with the taxpayer's money.
He called on his fellow chiefs and traditional authorities to desist from acts that compromised their position when allocating parcels of land under their jurisdictions for mining purposes since in many instances chiefs had been fingered.
The acting Konor also called for the regularization of illegal miners to enable the appropriate institutions monitor and control their activities to reduce environmental degradation and conflict to the barest minimum.
The Municipal Chief Executive (MCE) for East Akyem, Mr Simon Asirifi, said the Minerals Commission had always contended that nobody had been given mineral mining license to operate at Kyebi, yet they looked on whiles people come in their name to devastate the environment.