The District Security Committee (DISEC) of the Upper Denkyira West District in the Central Region last Thursday arrested three foreigners involved in small-scale mining, in a renewed exercise to flush out illegal miners from the district.
When the DISEC team, led by the District Chief Executive, Mr Ambrose Amoah-Ashyia, struck at Ampabena Betenase, the three suspects, all Chinese nationals, took to their heels towards the bush, but the security officers pursued and arrested them.
Initially, one of them attempted to release a dog on members of the team, thinking that they were only civilians, but when he saw the security personnel, he abandoned that ‘tactical move’ and bolted.
The suspects were subsequently handed over to officials of the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS) for investigation after which the necessary action would be taken against them.
Assistant Controller of Immigration, Mr Daniel Tetteh Lomotey, who is in charge of the Upper Denkyira West and Upper Denkyira East districts, said after the investigations, a report would be sent to Accra for further action.
Illegal foreign miners return
A large number of foreigners, mostly Chinese nationals, have returned to the mine sites in the Upper Denkyira West and Upper Denkyira East districts, a few months after a major national exercise was undertaken to flush them out.
The vast lands that were degraded and abandoned by the foreign illegal miners in the districts are yet to be reclaimed because the cost involved, the Daily Graphic learnt, is huge.
The illegal foreign miners who were arrested in the national exercise last year were subsequently deported to their home countries.
But in spite of that exercise, which prompted diplomatic intervention from the Chinese government, and the falling price of gold on the world market, the foreign illegal miners still found it lucrative to return to the ‘galamsey’ business.
New security strategy
But the DISEC says it will not relent in pursuing them, as it solicits the support of chiefs, opinion leaders and members of the communities in the renewed fight against illegal mining in the two districts.
According to the DCE, the exercise would not be a nine-day wonder, and he cautioned the illegal miners to desist from their operation because the DISEC would continue to pursue them.
He said illegal small-scale mining had been a menace in the Upper Denkyira West District, considering the damage it had caused to large parcel of lands.
He said the district assembly would endeavour to find ways of reclaiming the vast degraded lands.
Oil palm seedlings
Meanwhile, the Minerals Commission has distributed 180,000 oil palm seedlings to farmers in the two districts to plant on about 3000 acres reclaimed after mining activities.
The initiative is under a five-year project by the commission with the view to restoring the land to good use after mining and giving alternative livelihood support to farmers.
Mr Zoogah said the nursing of the seedlings project was a replication of an earlier one project undertaken by the Minerals Commission at Prestea in the Western Region.
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