Crime & Punishment of Monday, 5 May 2014
The Presidential Task Force on Illegal Mining in collaboration with the Eastern Regional Security Council had arrested 27 illegal miners at the Atiwa District and the East Akim Municipal Area.
The task force also seized 36 excavators, 21 water pumps and some chemicals including mercury used by the illegal miners in their operations.
The 27 suspects who are all Ghanaians and between the ages of 15 and 63 were arrested at their illegal mining sites at Ahwenease, Akim Akwadum, Kibi, Adadientem, Kyebi Afiesa, Ankaase, Amonom and Akrofofo.
Addressing the media after the exercise, Mr. Julius Debrah, the Eastern Regional Minister expressed concern at the rate of environmental degradation caused by the illegal miners in the region and appealed to all those interested in mining to respect the mining laws of the country.
He stressed that the government is not against small scale mining but those involve should abide by the laid down rules for the good of all.
Mr. Evans Adade of the Minerals Commission said the Commission had run several workshops to sensitise the public and those interested in small scale mining but the effect had not been as expected.
Mr. Joshua Agyekum, the Regional Security Liaison Officer, said huge State funds were used last year between June and July to reclaim mine pits that were left behind by illegal miners and trees were planted there only for the task force to realise that the lands are being degraded by the illegal miners again.
He observed that, if care is not taken, illegal mining would destroy the agriculture system and have a devastation effect on the ecology of the country and appealed to all stakeholders to support efforts to end illegal mining in the country.