Sekondi, Feb 28, GNA - The government would soon embark on a nationwide exercise to clampdown on illegal small-scale miners, Mr Joseph Boahen Aidoo, the Western Regional Minister, told a meeting with stakeholders in the industry at Sekondi on Monday.
He said the decision to check illegal miners was to eliminate problems associated with these activities that had been a worry not only to the various communities but also to the government. The Regional Minister said reports indicated that "galamsey" was on the increase with operators digging under houses for gold in Prestea and Tarkwa.
''They have become a nuisance and are causing environmental, security and economic problems for the country.''
"In many instances illegal miners have had violent confrontations with some mining companies and communities and the government cannot sit down unconcerned".
Mr Aidoo said by law individuals and companies had to acquire license before they could operate or prospect for minerals and anything short of this is regarded as illegal and would not be tolerated. He said the situation where "galamsey" operators enter the concessions of licensed mining companies has become a source of worry to his administration.
Mr Aidoo spoke against the tendency of children as young as 10 years engaging in illegal mining and urged parents to make their children's education their priority.