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Opinions of Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Columnist: Alhaji Alhasan Abdulai

The collapse of Kubekrom Gold pit on 14 men; a wakeup call for us

News about the collapse of an abandoned Galamsey pit at Kubekrom Abease near Prestea Nsuta in the Western Region that trapped 14 miners is sad indeed.

If the people involved are not found early enough they may lose their lives. It is one of the dangerous gold pits that is not good to work in.

The sad incident goes to justify the governments worry and that of concerned Ghanaians over such sites leading to the campaign launched by media groups together with Occupy Ghana towards eliminating illegal mining in Ghana.

According to reports from reliable sources, the 80 metre pit was abandoned when government declared war against illegal mining. However the illegal miners found a way to cunningly go back to the pit at night to mine gold.

Tit bits of Information have it that, five of the miners have been rescued and are being interrogated by the police. It is sad that Ghanaian citizens have to suffer this calamity perhaps leading to their death. It means that despite the call for all Ghanaians and non Ghanaians to stay away from Galamsey, the call has fallen on deaf ears and it is very much being practiced by some young men and women.

Those who intend to get involved in illegal mining must know that the venture is dangerous therefore they must stay away from it. It means that apart from Kubekrom Abease in the Western Region there might be many illegal mining pits in all parts of the country including the northern part of Ghana being operated on the blindside of the security operatives like the police and the Minerals Commission.

Although the Ghana Water Company says the water quality in the mining areas is improving, with the upsurge of secret surface mining, we are in danger of getting back to the days when all our rivers were polluted. The danger in this is that dangerous chemicals such as cyanide may find their way into our streams.

It has come to light that some traditional rulers and other influential men and women including foreigners are behind the illegal mining. Quite recently some foreigners were arrested for their involvement in illegal mining. We hardly know what is being done to send them out of the country as no Ghanaian would be permitted to engage in surface mining in their countries.

While campaigning against it, we must get hold of all those behind illegal mining in Ghana including the men and women from China, India and Ukraine. We should also deploy a sizeable number of security personnel to monitor and investigate the operations of illegal miners throughout the country.

In order for us to succeed in fighting against illegal mining,the minerals commission must be made to cancel all licenses of small scale miners because the registered small scale miners are those who employ those who engage in Galamsey.

Most of the small scale miners operate in shallow wells that are very close to rivers making it easy for them to pollute our rivers.

The campaign by the media houses is good and timely as it creates awareness nationwide on the mining menace. Apart from making noise being made on air, on television and social media they need to be assisted. The government must help by pushing through parliament, the necessary legislation to check illegal mining.

Parliament must also help to strengthen the arms of the Ghana Minerals Commission, the police and other security operatives to eliminate out illegal mining from Ghana.