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03.03.2006 Kenya

Newmont to flush galamsey operators in Kenyasi

By GNA

Sunyani (B/A), March 3, GNA - The security outfit of Newmont Ghana Gold at Kenyasi in Asutifi District of Brong Ahafo has stepped up patrol exercises to check the activities of illegal mining operators. Mr Yahya Yakubu, Security Supervisor, noted that their activities posed a threat to the lives of the people and they were determined to flush them out of the company's concession area.

Speaking at a meeting organised by the National Security Council (NSC) in Sunyani on Friday, Mr Yakubu expressed concern about the activities of the illegal miners (galamsey).

Representatives of the Mines Department, Minerals Commission, Ministry of Lands, Forestry and Mines and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as traditional authorities attended the meeting. It was part of a nationwide tour by the NSC to monitor and forestall the activities of galamsey operators in the country. Mr Yakubu disclosed that last year a Newmont security patrol team arrested six illegal miners at Sikamenaso and Manu shed, both farming communities in the district.

The illegal miners claimed they came from Tarkwa in the Western Region to carry out the operations.

Mr Harry Imbeah, Chief Director of NSC said government had set up a committee within the NSC to monitor and help get rid of the activities of illegal mining operators.

He said the committee had embarked on a nationwide tour and the visit to the Brong-Ahafo was the fourth after Eastern, Western and Ashanti regions.

The Chief Director stressed the need for the committee to educate the general public, particularly traditional authorities about the impact and assessment of galamsey operations, so they could help to bring the perpetrators to book.

Mr Imbeah explained that, since mining operation had started in Brong Region, there was the likelihood that galamsey operators would throng the various mining sites.

He said problems associated with illegal mining included child trafficking, pollution of water bodies and child labour. Galamsey operations, Mr Imbeah added, attract dubious characters, since the perpetrators take in hard drugs to enable them to work hard enough in their operations.

He announced plans by the committee to meet the regional house of chiefs to discuss pertinent issues concerning mining in their communities.

Mr Ignatius Baffour-Awuah, Deputy Brong-Ahafo Regional Minister explained that people in the region had not experienced more about mining, particularly galamsey operations.

He condemned the practice by traditional authorities to connive with galamsey operators to undertake illegal mining at concessions allocated to companies.

To minimize crime at Kenyasi as regard to the ongoing mining activities, DSP John Ernest Owusu, Regional Crime Officer, appealed to Newmont Gold to construct bungalows to enable the regional police command to send more police personnel to the area.

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