The death in a galamsay pit of six persons in the Western Region is as worrying as it is eye-opening about the dangers lurking in so-called El Dorado pits.
The search for precious minerals in the bowels of the earth using ordinary implements in an unregulated environment is a crazy enterprise.
Many deaths of gold-seeking youth have been recorded in the past. Unfortunately the lessons to be learnt from the disasters have either been lost or not sunk in sufficiently to have a positive impact.
Otherwise the youth in gold-bearing areas would not continue to risk their lives the way they do.
The excuse of not having any means of livelihood besides such parlous enterprise does not make sense under the circumstances.
Government has exhibited adequate commitment to ensuring that mining on the scale the youth engage in is regulated so that the dangers associated with the unregulated regimes are avoided.
As we compose this commentary two bodies are yet to be recovered from the killer pit. The pain of the parents of the deceased can only be imagined.
It is important that chiefs and community leaders in gold-occurring areas embark upon intensive education about the dangers in illegal mining activities.
The protection of lives, especially the youth in the community, is a shared one. Nobody should remain aloof when these young persons are exposed to the avoidable dangers of illegal mining.
Of course the youth belong to their parents, but on such solemn occasions, all members of the community share in the grief triggered by the disaster.
A life lost is too much let alone six at a go under circumstances which are flimsy.
We have learnt that the forest in which the illegal mining activities take place is out of the reach of many yet the daring youth made it their operating base until disaster struck.
Now that the location is no longer out of reach, it is likely that more daring youth will try their luck on the newfound El Dorado as they fill the vacuum created by the death of the six.
It behooves the police in the area alongside the traditional authorities and even parents to join hands in protecting the youth against the lurking death in the pits.
Those flouting the order not to venture into the killer pits should be sanctioned in a manner that would send out the message that the authorities are ready to enforce the relevant directives.
To the parents of the deceased, we can only commiserate with them at this painful moment in their lives.
It is our hope and prayer that this time positive lessons will be learnt from this avoidable disaster.