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Business News of Monday, 5 September 2016

Source: B&FT

GREL worry about illegal miners invading rubber plantations

The Ghana Rubber Estates Limited (GREL), a leading rubber producer in the country’s commodities sector has expressed wary of the menace caused by the activities of illegal miners as the company calls on government for major security support to halt their activities.

The activities of the illegal small scale miners which is gradually destroying the major rubber plantations in the western region is causing the company to spend huge sums of cash in providing security to protect various farmlands and water bodies in the various communities the company operates.

“Our greatest threats to our farmlands are the activities of the galamsey operators. They invade the concessions; they dig holes which become very serious to the workers and farmers. Their activities leave holes which become dangerous traps within the farmlands, and once they do that, people easily fall into it.

“The illegal miners also fell the rubber trees and expose the land to flooding, they open up the concessions to the river bodies and so it gets easily flooded; so we are always fighting them,” said Perry Acheampong, Corporate Affairs Manager of GREL in an interview with B&FT during a tour of the company in Takoradi, Western Region.

Mr. Acheampong said the activities of these illegal small scale miners have become a major threat to the operations of the country, confirming that the over 240 hectares of the forest reserve preserved for student to undertake research is currently being threatened by the operations of these illegal miners.

“Our new land that we have acquired in Awudua which has about 240 hectares of forest reserved specifically for students to be used for research purposes had just been destroyed by these illegal miners.

“A group of men entered the land and destroyed the tress and these men are locals. We have to get a security this dawn to get them out of the area, so the galamsey is a big threat to us.”

He adding: “We arrested some people who have destroyed tress, they have destroyed a lot of trees closer to the main river. And it’s a river that serves a lot of the community member and they have destroyed it completely.

“The colour of the water has completely changed and we have the same issue in Awodua Divison one on the princess route, when you take to river Yani, they have destroyed it too totally.

“When you take Adeiyoso, they have destroyed it and Awodua community too we have a lot of Galamsey issues there.”

He urged government to provide military support to successfully eradicate the activities of the illegal miners, “We might need the help of the state to drive them once and for all because we mostly operate on state land.

“So we expect the government to show more concern because at the end of the day, it is still a state property. That is when you know, you are the ultimate owner,” he said.

Mr. Acheampong commended the Military for their continuous support in dealing with the issue, “We get a lot of support from the Military and the Second Battalion in the Western Region (2BN). They have helped us in handling the situation.”