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General News of Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Source: Today Newspaper

Galamsey operators take over Kenyasi No.1 cemetery

Credible information reaching Today indicates that small scale and illegal gold miners, otherwise known in Ghanaian parlance as ‘galamsey’ operators, have turned a cemetery at Kenyasi Number One in the Asutifi North District of the Brong Region into a mining concession.

The cemetery, which is by the roadside of the Kenyasi-Hwidiem road, Today gathered, has become a fertile ground for small scale and illegal miners many of whom are youth, to prospect for gold.

That development, Today understands, arose about following the news that the said burial ground was a reserved place for chiefs and influential people in the community, which had beneath its soil gold deposits.

What must have boomed galamsey operation at the cemetery, according to our sources, was the ongoing construction works on the Kenyasi-Hwidiem road which affected some tombs, thereby exposing some precious minerals hidden beneath the burial ground.

The news of gold discovered at the cemetery, the sources said, arouse the interest of some youth in the community who started to prospect for both gold and other precious minerals.

However, that development, Today learnt, has angered some religious and civil society groups based in the community.

According to them, if the situation continues, it could affect the health of residents in the area.

In an interview with Today, an opinion leader from Kenyasi Number One who pleaded to speak on condition of anonymity confirmed the illegal mining activity at the cemetery.

The opinion leader indicated that several attempts by the chiefs and civil society groups to stop the operators have failed.

Today also uncovered that the illegal mining operators use all kinds of implements including pick-axes, shovels and machetes to dig the cemetery in search of precious stones.

Their targets, this paper gathered, were tombs of people believed to be royals who might have been buried with some precious jewels in the form of bracelets and necklaces.

Kenyasi Number One is a gold town where mining giant, Newmont Ghana Gold Limited (NGGL), is operating.