Central Regional Minister, Samuel Sarpong has vowed to end illegal mining activities in the area.
He has scheduled an emergency meeting of the Regional Security Council (REGSEC) next week, to discuss fashion ways of concretizing the measure.
Mr. Sarpong spoke to Nhyira News after 17 bodies of illegal miners popularly called “galamsey operators” were pulled from an abandoned mine pit which collapsed on them on Monday.
Five other persons were rescued by a combined team of personnel from the Police, Immigration and Fire Services as well as the National Disaster Management Organization.
The collapsed pit is one of many abandoned by God First Enterprise Mining Company at Dunkwaw-Kyekyewere in the Upper Denkyira East Municipality.
The victims consist of 15 males and two females, including a couple. Seven of the deceased are natives of Amoafo while the remaining nine are from Kyekyewere.
They include a second year student of the Dunkwa Secondary Technical School, Clement Abugri, and his mother identified only as Ayishetu.
According to Mr. Sarpong, the effects of illegal mining unlike the legalized one cannot be countenanced.
The Minister visited the scene to sympathize with the bereaved families and later visited the Dunkwaw Municipal Hospital mortuary where bodies of the deceased are being kept for autopsy.
He told Nhyira News the time had come for the Regional Coordinating Council to take a bold decision on illegal mining, describing it is unacceptable.
“They know what they are doing is wrong, and nobody supervises them and for that matter, they do it haphazardly, and then get away with this. We will make sure that, we have to disband illegal mining in the Central region in the first place.
“I am very serious about the whole case because if we are not careful, we would be losing a whole lot of people who at a point in time who would be able to work and sustain this economy,” Mr. Sarpong stressed.
Nhyira News checks at the Municipal Minerals Commission reveal God First Enterprise is owned by one Alhaji Abubakari, also known as Abuu. Though the company’s operations have been publicized in the Municipality, its environmental permit has not been renewed since May 6, 2011, pending another approval document by the Minerals Commission.
Officials of the commission are however surprised the company has mined and abandoned the pit on part of its 17acre Kyekyewere concession.
Meanwhile, Municipal Chief Executive, Kofi Ashia, says the matter has been referred to police for further investigations as four officials of God First Enterprise are invited for questioning.
Warning: Graphic image below
Story by Ghana/Nhyira FM/Ohemeng Tawiah