The 11-hour action led by the Paramount Chief of Prestea Traditional Area, Nana Ntaboah Prah IV, and some sub-chiefs, was necessitated by the wanton pollution of water bodies by activities of illegal gold miners in the area.
“So far we have destroyed some twelve mining equipment owned by galamseyers in the district,” Nana Ntaboah Prah IV disclosed to Today in interview via telephone yesterday.
An opinion leader, Mr. Dominic Nyame, told Today in an interview via phone yesterday that residents of Prestea took the decision to flush out the illegal miners when the Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, Mr. John Peter Amewu, declared his intention to tour the area.
He assured the public that they would relentlessly pursue the illegal miners until their activities are completely curtailed.
Activities of small-scale miners had resulted in the pollution of the Ankobra River which is a source of water to the residents in the district.
Speaking to journalists yesterday at Prestea, Mr. Amewu noted that government has heightened the fight against illegal mining by summoning mining companies that were engaged in the act after the expiration of the 21-day ultimatum.
The minister, who led an anti-galamsey taskforce to clamp down on illegal mining activities in the Western Region, asserted that Okobeng Mining Company in Prestea has become the first of such companies to be summoned to the Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources because the firm has been mining gold in the Nzema East constituency without a full operational licence.
The firm has been operating with a prospecting licence it received about three months ago.
According to him, Okobeng Mining Company has also been operating 30 metres from River Ankobra.
Miners are required to operate at least 100 metres from a major water body.
According to him, managers of the company will face the law at all cost and has asked them to voluntarily report to his ministry.
He said his ministry was committed to rooting out the illegal mining menace.
Commenting on Okobeng Mining Company, Mr. Amewu said the seriousness of the mining firm’s case was that they were “not even expected to do what [they] are doing. They have only been given prospecting licence.”
The minister also directed all seized excavators used for the illegal mining activities to be moved to Accra within 30 days.
Meanwhile, the minister has asked all District Mining Officers across the country to proceed on leave with immediate effect for negligence.
The nine officers who were in charge of monitoring mining activities in each of the nine mining zones are being blamed for allowing illegal miners to take over their designated territories.
Chiefs lead operation to destroy galamsey equipment Featured
IN the wake of the anti-galamsey campaign by government and the media, residents of Prestea, Heman and surrounding villages in the Prestea-Huni-Valley District of the Western Region led by their chiefs and elders have embarked on a campaign to destroy all mining equipment belonging to illegal miners if they do not halt their operations.