The Ashanti Regional Minister Samuel Sarpong, has given all mining firms within the region a seven day ultimatum, to submit their entire mining authorization documents to a special committee set up by the Regional Security Council for review.
The minister gave the directive after touring some mining areas seriously affected by flooding after Sunday’s heavy down pour.
Three communities in the Atwima Mponua District of the Ashanti Region were displaced due to a spillover of the river Offin following the torrential rains.
Hardest hit was the Abesua community where several houses were completely submerged in the water forcing residence to use the only school in the community as residential accommodation.
Some of the inhabitants had also left the town to nearby communities to seek refuge with friends and family as their buildings stand no hope of habitation even after the waters recede.
The disaster has been blamed on improper activities by mining firms in the area.
A small scale miner, E.K Agyemang mining group limited was fingered on the Regional Minister’s Tour for diverting the river Offin from its natural flow for its mining activities.
The mining in the area has also heavily polluted the river as chemical waste from the mining activities are dumped and washed off into the river Offin.
Disappointed at the extent of damage caused by the small scale miners, Mr. Samuel Sarpong declared a pending clamp down on all illegal mining activities in the region.
He cautioned that any mining firm that refused to submit documentation of its mining permits to the joint REGSEC/RCC committee would be declared illegal after the seven day ultimatum.
‘We shall embark on seizure of equipment and vehicles, arrest and prosecute offenders and there should be no complaints for any unexpected mishap that will happen as a result of the security swoops that will be conducted,’ he warned.
He further cautioned foreigners engaged in galamsey activities to ‘rethink and do what the laws of Ghana permits’ or risk being ‘treated like any common criminal in the country.’
The Ashanti Regional minister has been known for his brut prowers at dealing with illegalities and settling scores with his foes.
He exhibited this forcefully in the war against galamsey in the central region where he served as regional minister in President Mahama’s first major ministerial reshuffle before returning to the Ashanti region.
There have been video footages showing the minister armed and working hand in hand with the anti galamsey task force in the central region further lending some credence to his commitment at carrying out this caution to the illegal miners in the Ashanti Region.
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