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General News of Friday, 24 March 2017


Government to roll out ‘sustained' clampdown on illegal mining

The Interior Ministry has announced plans to roll out a sustained nationwide campaign against illegal miners whose activities are destroying lands and polluting rivers.

Interior Minister, Ambrose Dery, told Joy News the destruction of key sources of drinking water with harmful chemicals by the illegal miners was a matter of great concern to the current government.

The Ghana Water Company revealed that almost every major source of water has either dropped low or is heavily polluted to the point where the company currently uses high quantities of chemicals to purify the water before pumping to homes.

In some instances, the level of pollution is so high that the water company has shut down its purification plants.

Although past governments have clamped down on illegal mining activities, which are usually spearheaded by foreign nationals like Chinese especially, the problem has persisted.

“It is a multi-sectorial problem and we are approaching it that way. We are going to go at it. But we want to go at it at a sustained level not to go in a flash – one day, two-day and come back. This is a matter of concern that we must address,” the Interior Minister told Joy News’ Parliamentary Correspondent, Joseph Opoku Gakpo.

During his tenure, former President John Mahama inaugurated a five-member inter-ministerial taskforce to fight illegal mining, which is believed to be sanctioned by local chiefs and some politicians on the blind side of authorities.

However, that taskforce did not achieve its objective. It is believed that the illegal miners were not operating on a small scale as was thought. There was also allegations that the illegal miners had the backing of chiefs and power politicians.

Mr Dery said a similar taskforce would be constituted by end of this year, but everything will be done to ensure that it achieves its stated objectives.

“It is not a matter of you arresting people then they come back later and take their equipment and go,” he said.

Meanwhile, residents of Manso Tontokrom, a farming community in the Amansie West District, have been forced to resort to the use of sachet water for daily house chores, as mining activities pollute their water sources.

The Komkowu River that serves the main source of water has been inundated with poisonous chemicals through illegal mining activities.

An alternative source of water, mechanised wells powered by electricity, are unreliable due to erratic power supply.

Residents want the government to intervene in saving the situation.