The Chiefs and residents of Beppo, a mining community in the Prestea Huni Valley Municipality of the Western Region, have assured of their unflinching support to the fight against illegal mining.
This followed a fruitful engagement with the Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources in charge of Mining, George Mireku Duker.
The assurance which was conveyed by the Tufuhene, Nana Bretuo II follows a passionate call made on them by George Mireku Duker for them to help government fight illegal mining.
In an address during a stakeholder sensitisation against illegal mining on Wednesday, October 26, 2022, Mr. 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 which is a tributary of the Ankobra River, by ‘galamsey’ operations, Hon. Mireku Duker stated that the larger community must not bear the brunt of the greedy few, and encouraged the residents to rise up against 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,” he stated.
He sensitised them on the harmful effects of ‘galamsey’ and appealed to them to declare zero tolerance for illegal mining.
The Deputy Minister 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, adding that time has come for the community to arrest illegal miners whose actions are causing irreparable damage to the environment.
“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.
He, therefore, called on the chiefs and residents to act and pleaded 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.
“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,” he explained.
He said government has a number of alternative livelihood sources available to persons who opt out of illegal mining.
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’ poses 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.
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