The Artisanal and Small Scale Mining Africa-Network (ASMAN) wishes to call on government to as a matter of transparency, audit all regional coordinating councils on the collection and use of levies charged owners of seized illegal Mining equipment and vehicles as part of the work of the inter-ministerial task force.
Painstaking investigations undertaking by ASMAN has revealed that an amount of GH 10,000 and GH 15,000 are charged respectively for each pick-up vehicle and earth moving equipment (excavator or bulldozer) found to have been engaged in illegal Small Scale Mining activity in the country, and these monies are paid at the respective regional coordinating councils and receipts issued.
The intent of these levies according to ASMAN sources, was to enable government reclaim or backfill the numerous abandoned pits dug by the alleged illegal mine operators across the length and breadth of Ghana.
After more than a year of the operations of the task force and the collection of these monies, host communities of the illegal mine mining activities are yet to see any conscious effort by government to backfill or reclaim the abandoned pits, thus raising moral issues as to what the monies collecting are been used for, hence this call for an audit to ascertain how much has accrue so far and what the monies are been used for.
ASMAN has noted that the continuous existence of these pits in the host communities possess serious health and environmental threat to the inhabitants as conservative estimates reveal that about seventeen (17) persons some of whom farmers, were reportedly killed in abandoned mine pits in the Amansie West district alone in less than one year. Hundreds of similar deaths across the country go unreported making the situation even more alarming.
Apart from the destruction of water bodies and the forest by these illegal mine operators, the abandoned pits left uncovered serve as death traps to unsuspecting inhabitants and also collect water in a stagnated manner and breed thousands of harmful insects which invade the host communities and infect them various ailments.
Following this unfortunate development, we consider it most opportune to draw government’s attention on the need to ensure that these levies collected are accounted for and applied for the intent and purpose for which they were instituted
Edward Kwasi Akuoko
(Director: Policy & Research)
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