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General News of Friday, 7 April 2017


Illegal miners ask for more time to stop operating

Some illegal miners in four districts of the Western Region, have pledged to suspend their activities in support of government’s fight to end the menace.

They however want the government to give them some additional time to enable them put an end to their operations.

The illegal miners making the request are in Amenfi West, Amenfi East, Amenfi Central and Prestea Huni-Valley districts.

The effects of illegal mining, also known as galamsey, have been well documented with basically all Rivers in the Western Region affected by the menace, which threatens water treatment plants and water supply to residents.

These effects have even extended over the border to Ivory Coast with a water treatment plant in that country shut down.

A spokesperson for the group, Nana Ntori Bonkyi Akomea, conveyed the illegal miners’ assurances when they met with the of Environment, Science and Innovation Minister, Professor Kwabena Frimpong-Boateng.

According to Nana Ntori, the illegal miners “require time to suspend operations and engage in negotiations with how best we could mine the minerals… We are of the conviction that government is not against gold mining, but the means by which the activity is carried out is the issue of concern.”

Their appeal comes barely a week into a three-week ultimatum to all illegal miners, by the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, to cease their activities or the face the law.

The illegal miners, however did not state how much time they require from government.

Decentralize licensing regime

The miners also voiced out some concerns with the current licensing regime which they say is too centralized, thus deterring prospective miners from using legal means to engage in the trade.

According to Nana Ntori, “Yet another critical challenge has to do with the centralized licensing regime which deters most of the prospective small-scale miners. What we are therefore seeking from the government is that, the processes for licensing be decentralized to give the local authorities the power to regulate the issuance and monitor the activities of persons who would be granted permits.”