Wpid Galamsey
2013 In Retrospect: Illegal Mining, Ghana’s Bane

Information gathered from Prestea indicate that majority of people who owns concessions within the community are facing tough times dealing with the covetous nature of the Small Scale Miners Association members who have decided to frustrate legitimate concession owners.

wpid-galamsey.jpgIt is becoming evident that the Association, through the help and support from the Prestea District Police Commander is unduly taking over concessions that belong to other people who are not necessarily members of their Association.

Speaking to some people whose concessions have been encroached by the Association, they lamented that the situation is worrying since the association only destroy their lands in the process.

They also averred that the Association and the District Police Commander are sitting down unconcern without taking measures to protect the interest of the community members.

“I am protecting my concession for the future. But I have seen that the Association had taken over and is mining on the concession without even having permit or ownership to the land. I have all documents to my concession and don’t understand why the Association and the Police Commander are bent on destroying my concession,” a concession owner said.

With their activities and its attendant effects on the land and the community as a whole, the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, who was in the community caused the seizure of equipment and machines belonging to the Association members which were being used to mine.

However, this paper has gathered that, few days after the seizure of the machines, members of the Association have defied all orders from the Minister asking them to stop the illegal mining on those concessions.

In expressing their defiance which many people said was not in order, the leadership of Small Scale Miners Association in Prestea held a press conference accusing the Minister and the Minerals Commission of teaming up with legitimate concession owners to seize their equipment.

Information received as regards the clamp-down on illegal activities in Prestea, two persons Fosu and Lion who are known lead persons when it comes to Galamsey activities in the area were arrested but are currently on bail.
Meanwhile the arrest of Fosu and Lion as generated some confusion in the community with the youth especially, demonstrating against the decision by the minister and threatened to kill the owners of the concession on which they were operating before the arrest.

Concession owners are thus calling on the minister, minerals commission and the IGP to look into the activities of the Association and the Police in the community since their interference in matters such as the one at hand will inflate passion leading to severe fatalities.

They also called on the District Police Commander to stay away from their lands.

A tour to Prestea has established that the Association members and other small scale miners in the area are using Mercury in extracting the gold small miners sell to prospective buyers who intend trade the precious mineral to gold companies.

Although government has not regulated the use of mercury by small scale miners, the Association continues to use it to the detriment of the people and the community.

However, EPA is on the ground educating miners on the harmful effects of mercury on their health.
Source: Prospser Agbenyega/Newsghana.com.gh

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