The Chiefs and residents of Beppo, a mining community in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region have assured their resounding and unflinching support to the fight against illegal mining following an extensive and fruitful engagement with the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, George Mireku Duker.
The assurance which was conveyed by the Tufuhene, Nana Bretuo II follows a dispassionate call made on them by the Deputy Minister for Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mines, George Mireku Duker.
In an address during a Stakeholders Sensitization Engagement against illegal Mining event on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, Mireku Duker evoked a sense of communism and nationalism in the traditional authorities and residents against galamsey.
Making reference to the destruction of the community’s river by galamsey operations which is a tributary of the Ankobra River, Mireku Duker protested that the larger community must not bear the brunt of the greedy few and thus want the residents to rise up against illegal mining.
He sensitized them on the harmful effects of galamsey and appealed to them to declare zero tolerance for illegal mining.
Duker explained to the community that the 1992 Constitution has empowered them to arrest all persons whose actions are detrimental to the community and the country and that time has come for the community to arrest illegal miners whose actions are causing irreparable damage to the environment.
He, therefore, called the chiefs and residents to action whiles pleading with them to ensure an immediate end to all forms of illegal mining activities.
The Tarkwa Nsuaem MP clarified that the Akufo-Addo government is not against small-scale mining but wants to purge the sector of harmful practices in view of the employment opportunities it provides to Ghanaians.
He said the government has a number of alternative livelihood sources available to persons who opt out of illegal mining.
“Because of greed, we are destroying our country and our future. It’s a shame. It’s a shame that some of our chiefs have sat aloof for our river here to get destroyed. It’s sad and shameful. Because of gold, we are destroying the river that feeds into the Ankobra. We must all be responsible.
“Large-scale mining companies in Ghana employ about 30,000 people but small-scale employ about one million Ghanaians so I’m completely against banning small-scale mining. My government is also against banning small-scale mining. What is important is that we mine responsibly and protect it so that it helps us and does not kill us.
“If our chiefs and the general public agree to resist any form of illegal mining, there is no way anyone can do it. Our constitution permits citizen arrests. You don’t have to be a police officer to arrest someone who is doing something harmful to the country. We all have to come together and agree that irresponsible small-scale mining must stop now. Let’s all do this for our community and the country,” he said.
The Chief Inspector of Mines at the Minerals Commission, Mr. Kofi Adjei educated the public on the dire consequences of illegal mining. He highlighted the health, economic and social impacts galamsey pose to the country and preached against it.
The Municipal Chief Executive of the area Isaac Dasmani commended the chiefs and residents for welcoming the appeal by the Deputy Minister and the government and charged them to practice what he said.