Over 347 illegal miners arraigned in court – Minister

Photo credit: African Arguments

The Minister for Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu, has revealed that over 347 persons involved in illegal mining have been arrested and arraigned before court.

He said this on the floor of Parliament, when he was responding to a question on a number of ‘galamsey’ (illegal mining) sites across the country that have so far been closed down and their regional locations.  The Member of Parliament for Wassa East, Hon. Isaac Adjei Mensah, asked the question.

The Minister stated that galamsey activities were widespread across the country, adding that the sheer numbers, areal spans and the remoteness of these illegal operations, which cause wanton destruction of the environment in terms of land degradation and pollution of river bodies, is a phenomenon found in virtually all regions of the country.

According to him, it is estimated that 4% of Ghana’s total land surface of 238,000 sq. km. is highly degraded as a result of the galamsey menace.

He added that while there are thousands of such sites across the country, Bolgatanga, Wa, Bole, Berekum, Bibiani, Asankragwa and Tarkwa are some of the noted galamsey-prone areas. Others are Dunkwa, Akwatia, Konongo, Tinga, Dormaa, Kenyase, Juaboso, Enchi, Wassa Akropong and Prestea. The rest are Daboase, Diaso, Manso Nkwanta, Obuasi, Assin Fosu, Akim Oda, Kwabeng and Nkawie.

He assured that the government is mindful of the threat of these illegal mining activities to security and society at large, and is implementing a number of initiatives to minimise, if not completely stem out, the menace.

He indicated that in view of this, the government has put a 6-month moratorium on all small scale mining activities, adding that this is to enable the government streamline the activities and put in place a holistic framework to manage it.

The Minister further stated that about 90% of heavy duty earth-moving machinery at the galamsey sites has been evacuated. He added that more than 3,000 floating platforms have been destroyed and over 347 persons involved in illegal mining have been arrested and put before court.

He also said engagement with the leadership of the legitimate small scale miners has continued, to take on board their views in the new management structure to be put in place.


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