Mad Rush For Elmina GoldBy Daily Guide
11/30/2011 3:30:50 PM -
There are reports of a major discovery of gold at the Elmina beach.
Reports say scores of residents are scrambling for the so-called discovery while some are carting away sea sand to their homes to protect their expected booty.
Hundreds of people drawn from other regions across the country have trooped to Elmina in the Komenda-Edina-Eguafo-Abrem (KEEA) Municipality of the Central Region to engage in illegal gold mining, popularly known as galamsey.
The people, between the ages of 10 and 50, according to DAILY GUIDE information, started their operations about a week ago when they discovered that the beach around the castle and Ayisa, near the CG Elmina Cold store, which was established to serve as a sardine processing factory, abounded in gold.
Sources revealed that the gold discovery was made when some galamsey operators who had come for a funeral in the area went to the castle and spotted that the sand around the castle had glitter in it.
Other sources hinted that the deposits could probably come from the dredging of the Benya Lagoon which was deposited there when the lagoon was dredged about four years ago.
DAILY GUIDE also gathered that Dredging International, the company that dredged the lagoon, kept a section of the workers from entering a particular area which they now suspected might have contained the gold.
When DAILY GUIDE visited the place, persons from other mining areas in the country were busily washing the sand for gold.
The paper also spotted some gold dealers from Tarkwa, Prestea and other mining communities who had parked their cars to purchase gold from the galamsey operators.
DAILY GUIDE further gathered that the number of operators increased in the night as they used lantern and torch-light in search of gold.
This reporter also observed that fishermen had abandoned their fishing activities to join in the search for gold since they claimed the fishing business was collapsing gradually due to the ban on light fishing.
The operators threatened to clash with the police if they made any attempt to stop them from doing their lucrative business.
Some fishermen have virtually abandoned their canoes and spend the night, with their wives and children on the beach, digging and washing sand in expectation.
'We are not going to sleep,' a fisherman told a Joy FM reporter.
One of the operators who spoke to DAILY GUIDE on anonymity claimed they made close to GH¢15 million a day.
He further added that he sometimes took the gold to the Western Region to sell as other buyers also trooped to the area to buy them.
In an interview with the Omanhene of Edina Traditional Area, Nana Kodwo Conduah VI, he cautioned the operators to put a stop to their activities since it was destroying the area.
He lamented that his summon for the operators to meet him at his palace to find out who gave them the permission to do so did not yield any result.
He therefore asked them to cease operations as soon as possible or face the consequences.
When contacted, the regional director of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Owusu Sekyere, said he only had the information on Tuesday morning that illegal mining was going on at Elmina and sent some officers to go and investigate the issue.
Mr Sekyere said the officers had not reported at the office and could not comment on the issue as at the time of filing this report.
He added that the EPA was working in collaboration with many organisations such as the Minerals Commission and the district assemblies, so they could not comment on the issue until they got in touch with stakeholders.
From Sarah Owusu-Darlington & Desmond K Dapaah, Elmina