The Western Regional Security Council (REGSEC) has warned recalcitrant individuals or group of persons who continue to engage in illegal mining activities, popularly known as ‘galamsey’, to desist from such act.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to clamp down on their activities, which have resulted in destruction of some water-bodies and caused rationing of water in some parts of the Western Region,” warned Kwabena Okyere Darko-Mensah, Western Regional Minister.
And to ensure illegal mining is brought to the barest minimum, the REGSEC – led by the Western Regional Minister – embarked on three different operations at the Amenfi West Municipality, Ellembelle district and Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality, all mining areas in the Western Region. The operations were embarked upon together with personnel from the Operation Vanguard taskforce, constituted to deal with illegal mining activities.
In the Amenfi West Municipality, the team arrested one illegal miner at a mining site near the River Tano in Samreboi. Also, four illegal miners were arrested at Ellembelle. Again, the taskforce seized 16 excavators, some fuel and more than 10 generators, as well as other equipment used in extracting gold illegally from the mining sites.
Mr. Darko-Mensah bemoaned the continuous destruction of water-bodies and lands by activities of the illegal miners.
“We will continue to clamp down on their activities and arrest them, and this should be a collective effort. We want the people to understand that we are going to fight this menace till the last, to make sure Ghanaians live in peace and have good drinking water,” he stressed.
“What worries me is that the illegal miners at Samreboi are doing this illegal business near the Tano River and keep pumping their waste into the river with all the chemicals; and I believe this is not the way to go,” he noted.
According to him, the current turbid nature of the river-bodies means that government has to spend more money to correct it. “We will come back to check and ensure that we succeed.”
He revealed that those arrested will be sent to the Police Regional Headquarters at Sekondi while the seized excavators will be moved to Asankrangwaa, the district capital of Amenfi West. He added that some of the seized items will also be sent to Accra.
“By law, it is the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources that will decide what to do with the equipment. I believe we will be able to get good drinking water for our people if we continue with such operations,” he said, promising that the REGSEC will not relent in its efforts to fight the menace.
DSP Nana Asomaning, Head of the Operation Vanguard in Tarkwa, said the team will be able to work effectively when people volunteer information, and therefore urged communities to help in the fight.
He noted the illegal miners usually wielded cutlasses and other tools which make their operations deadly. He also indicated that the destruction of water-bodies and lands is becoming a national security threat, and it should be the responsibility of all citizens to ensure the right thing is done.